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Thread: Acceptable language

  1. #1
    New Member
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    Dec 2014
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    Acceptable language

    Dear Forum members,
    I live in France and teach English. I am currently working with a man who has a company that modifies/repairs wheelchairs to suit each individual's needs. I want to make sure that I'm not teaching him any words that a disabled person would find distressing or downright rude. It's been such a long time since I've lived in England and I know that language does change.
    I see the word "disabled" everywhere so assume it's acceptable. For example, is "handicapped" ok to use?
    Would you be kind enough to help me and tell me which words you're happy with and some that you're not happy with? It would really help me to help this man who is doing such a great job.
    Thank you in advance,
    Islay.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lighttouch's Avatar
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    Hello Isley,

    It's a good idea to check on terminology used by disabled people rather than the so called 'professionals'

    In Manchester the disabled people's movement would use the following based on the 'social model of disability'

    Disabled people may be
    - physically impaired
    - or they may be a wheelchair user
    - visually impaired or blind
    - people with learning difficulties
    - hearing impaired or deaf
    - you don't use the word 'handicapped' - that goes back to Victorian days when disabled people had to beg for money 'cap in hand'

    If he refers to anyone who has an impairment then they are known as a disabled person.

    The social model only sees how society doesn't take disabled people's access needs into account by not supplying a ramped entrance or automatic opening doors, dropped curbs, buttons and switches lowered within reach of a seated person. Door widths may be too narrow,.

    A disabled person may not be able to change the way they are but Society can take disabled people's access needs into account and design the disabling barriers out.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your response.

  4. #4
    Senior Member flowerangelx's Avatar
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    I second everything that Lighttouch has said.

  5. #5
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    My powerpack was French. A Benoit........they seem to be doing OK with their website & videos..

  6. #6
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    Dec 2014
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    Thank you all for your advice.

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