Labelling Disability. Are we out of touch?
What worked then doesn’t always keep working in the now
Labelling disability is difficult are of terminology. I have met people who live with a disability who refuse to class themselves as disabled. I have also met people who don’t mind the term disabled and some who consider themselves differently abled not disabled.
The question also pops up; do we even need to have labels? Whether we agree with them or not, we live in a culture where labels are tagged on to everything. It can be argued that in some cases it works in someones favour such as accessing support. It can be argued that labels allow others to understand us and our needs quicker. It can be argued that they leave us open to prejudism and make us feel / be vulnerable. They can make us feel separate and different – not part of the ‘norm’. Labels though are a part of our society, they assist our understanding of something, someone or a particular situation. In most cases labels are necessary and show no signs of dissolving.
Back to the main question of labelling disability?
Is it time to find a new term for people who live with a disability? Does ‘disabled’ really describe accurately a person who currently comes under such a category? Redefining a more correct and modern term, respectful and dignified of those who would be classified by it, well i’m glad that isn’t my job. There will be no 100% acceptance whatever the outcome but there’s also something individual about that. I personally live with partial deafness but do not consider myself disabled as I have managed it in a way that it affects my life on such a small scale. I am interested personally on where this question will lead us but for now, here’s a great article written by Rebecca Atkinson. Rebecca refers to language used in disability both past and present.
I think many would agree with her summary but finding an alternative appropriate and more positive term than ‘disabled’ is a pretty tricky task!
Please do give us your thoughts and opinions, we would also ask that we each respect each others.