Acceptable and Unacceptable Disability Terminology
As an accessible site offering outdoor adventure activities in Devon, we know the importance of maintaining a welcoming and inclusive environment. Here at Calvert Trust Exmoor, we have created this piece as a helpful guide to direct those who may be unsure of the general guidelines in regards to appropriate terminology.
Please use our guide as a way to help spread awareness of proper vocabulary concerning disabilities and feel free to share this information, where you can, too!
Our information is provided by the www.gov.uk website, as well as other recommendations provided by disability-specific charities. Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that everyone is different, and some people may prefer specific terms or make reference to themselves in a particular way, and this should always be respected.
As a general guideline, if you are ever talking to anyone, it is always best to refer to them by their name.
Terms to Avoid
Please avoid the use of these terms as they are unacceptable and can cause people to feel singled-out and uncomfortable:
Below are some examples of appropriate and inappropriate, general terminology:
In regards to a general group of people who have disabilities-
Acceptable: ‘Disabled people’
Unacceptable: ‘The disabled’, ‘the handicapped’
Concerning people and their disability-
Acceptable: ‘Has (name of the condition, e.g. Asperger’s, depression, epilepsy)’
Unacceptable: Do not use terms which suggest a struggle, such as saying they ‘suffer from…’ or are ‘a victim of…’
When discussing a disability-
Acceptable: ‘Condition’ or ‘disability’
Unacceptable: ‘Illness’, ‘disease’, ‘handicap’
In regards to autism, it is worth reading through some of these terms which apply specifically to autism. If you would like to know more about autism, please take a look at our blog on Understanding Autism.
When discussing autistic people and their surrounding friends and family:
Acceptable: ‘Autistic people, their families and friends’
Unacceptable: ‘People living with autism’
When referring to children who do not have autism:
Acceptable: ‘Typically developing children’
Unacceptable: ‘Normally developed children’
When explaining what Asperger’s syndrome is-
Acceptable: It is a ‘form of autism’
Unacceptable: It is not a ‘rare or mild form of autism’
When referring to a person or child who has autism-
Acceptable: ‘Person/child on the autism spectrum/ autism/autistic’
Unacceptable: ‘an autistic’, ‘an autist’, ‘autie’, ‘aspie’
We want to ensure that a positive and correct outlook is encouraged across the UK for accessible sites and our guests. If you have any other terms you would like to share with us; please contact us on our social media channels as we would love to hear from you!
Alternatively, if you require more information about the adventure breaks we offer and are interested in booking a holiday with us, please feel free to contact us on 01598 763221 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include attribution to https://calvertexmoor.org.uk/ with this graphic.