Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Disability Faux Pas

On my last Blog post about removing barriers from your home, my friend Wally Dutcher pointed out that I had made some disability blunders.  My description of my client refered to her as "wheelchair bound".  Wally uses a wheelchair and reminded me that he is not "bound" to his wheelchair, he "uses" his wheel chair.  If he were bound he would have to be untied before he went to bed.  So simple, and yet so commonly forgotten.
He sent me this website and I thought it was such good information on how best to speak with and speak about people with disabilities.

I generally do not interact with the patrons who are disabled that will be using the facilities that I review and inspect or sometimes the one's that I design.  I am most of the time assisting the general contractor, architect or building owner.  And most of the time the same people that I interact with are the same who make the same mistakes as I do.  So it's a vicious cycle of unintended mis-statements.  In an effort to be more sensitive to our friends who are disabled, here is an interesting table that I found on one of the websites that Wally sent.

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spcatherall said...

Apparently, we all need to be told every few years what is politically correct to say and what is not. I have already been told by some people that some of the "acceptable" terms on this list are no longer acceptable. Being sensitive is good. Being insensitive is not. Being hyper-sensitive is also not good. It is not necessarily insensitive to use terms that a specific community has deemed inappropriate that were once considered appropriate. We have to speak and hear language as it is intended and commonly accepted. It's not in the power of any individual or any community to change the language and expect everyone else to follow along.

by Marcela Abadi Rhoads said...

Spcatherall, thanks for your comments. I totally agree. We should not have to walk on egg shells in order to relate to others. I think education is good, but being too cautious and "politically correct" is also not the right path.

William Goren said...

I might add that mental retardation is now out. The ADAAA (Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act) has changed it to "intellectual disabilities".

William D. Goren