Do you know One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. This high incidental rate shows that knowingly or unknowingly we have been meeting and interacting with people with disabilities on a daily basis in a supermarket, malls, therapy centers, etc. The very first reaction would be how should I interact with people with a disability. It’s common to feel a bit uncertain while interacting with someone who has a physical, or intellectual disability. Interaction with people with a disability just requires a touch of respect.
A few terminologies that help can you to start a communication and interact with people with disabilities. Some words for you to ponder and to consider to be a part of your vocabulary to brighten someone’s day by being inclusive and respectful in your communication/interaction.
|Instead of saying this…
|Let’s say this…..
|Special needs, Disabled
|People of Determination, Persons with Disabilities
|Blind, Visually impaired
|Person who is blind, a person with a visual impairment or who is partially-sighted
|Hard of hearing, hearing impaired
|Person who is hard of hearing
|Deaf-mute, deaf and dumb
|Person who is deaf
|A boy with Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder
A boy with ASD
|Spastic girl is wheelchair-bound
|A girl with Cerebral Palsy uses a wheelchair
|Mentally retarded, defective, feeble-minded, idiot, crazy
|Person with an intellectual disability, Person with Down’s Syndrome
|Learning disabled, learning disordered, the dyslexics
|Person with a learning disability
Person with dyslexia
|He is Dyslexic and in a special ed. program
|He is a child with dyslexia and follows a special education program
It just needs a moment to reflect on the language and terminology that we use during interactions. The tips given above will help in communicating with a person with a disability without feeling awkward or anxious.
Inclusion is key. Let’s celebrate neurodiversity, and create a responsible inclusive society with more awareness, compassion, and care. Be a part of a movement to build a world celebrating diversity by eliminating discrimination ……. that starts from the terminology that we use!