Article written by :: (RSS)

tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

This author has written 3445 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about tigtog »

8 responses to “Quicklink: Stella Young on communication guidelines and disability”

  1. Megpie71

    Quick note: you need to fix the second link to the article – it’s pointing back to the article location on HaT, and thus 404-ing.

  2. tigtog

    Thanks for letting me know, Meg.

  3. Jo

    Interesting link! I did a bit of a research project around language and disability in my last year of high school, and found similar things.

    It constantly astounds me, though, how comments on these sorts of things always end up being just one thing: whining about parking spaces. Because that’s definitely the most important thing here, right? Making sure that ‘they’ don’t take up ‘our’ normal parking spaces, as per one comment, and how unfair the whole idea is. Sigh.

  4. wondering

    Quick question. I hope this is not inappropriate to ask: I work as a technical writer and have to discuss accessibility and various impairments in regards to usability of our products. Previously I was educated to use “people with disabilities” (or, if I needed to be more specific, “people with x disability”). Would it be more appropriate to say “people with impairments”?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Notgruntled

    In the USA, the early-’90s Americans with Disabilities Act improved accessibility requirements. Since then, a lot of organizations have copped out of the language debate by referring to “ADA access” (“ADA restrooms,” “ADA parking,” etc.). Which annoys the hell out of me, because the message I see is “we are doing what the law requires and no more.”

  6. tigtog

    @wondering, I’m pretty sure that Stella’s main point is that there is no one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter answer. It’s going to depend on exactly what your products do to address which impairment, if what you’re selling is targeted assistive tech, in which case I imagine that describing how the product compensates for specific disabilities is the point. e.g. when I worked as a physiotherapist, the literature about strapping tape said it was for use in conditions like “ankle injuries”, not for “people with ankle injuries”. There are going to be times when using the “people with X” phrasing is going to be unnecessarily clunky, but then there are also going to be times when it’s going to be the best choice.

  7. Nell

    An interesting article and obviously different people are going to respond in different ways but, speaking purely for myself, I prefer to be viewed as a person first with any reference to my disabilities after. If not it feels as if my disabilities are the focus, not me. They already cause me enough difficulty in daily life. I don’t want them to define me as well.

  8. tigtog

    Like so many aspects of language, Nell – there is no hivemind.

The commenting period has expired for this post. If you wish to re-open the discussion, please do so in the latest Open Thread.