I believe that the terminology we use in our everyday life has a great effect on us as a society, on our attitudes and consequently our actions, even if unconsciously.
I still remember that lecture back in university days when we discussed several ethics surrounding disability. We started by talking about the term: “Disability”
It is common these days to hear people use the term “special needs” instead. I used to think of this term as an appropriate one, but after that discussion, I stopped using it as frequently. Here is why:
The lecturer argued: What exactly do we refer to when we say: Special Needs? Don’t we all have special needs…? And it struck me right then, Don’t we???
My answer was: Yes, as I know I definitely have my own special needs, and if I may guess, I think everyone else has their own special needs as well.
Why wouldn’t we use the term disability? Disability means that something or someone is disabling you from doing something that you want or need to do; in this case, that being the able-bodied society which fails to adapt the environment, considering all abilities.
This brings me to another term I heard recently: A Difability; short for:” a different ability”. It suggests that what we call a disability is simply another kind of ability that should be appreciated and respected.
In order for everyone to enjoy a true integration into society, effort needs to be put to raise awareness regarding the variety of people who add to the richness of society. And as someone who works with kids who have disabilities, I know that they DO add to the richness of my life.
Try to make the time to read through the article in the following link, as I am pretty sure it will have some effect on the way you think of disability: