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Active Living Alliance - Alliance de vie active

Language with Dignity

The language you use is an important part of inclusion.

In general, focus on respect. Speak with people the same way you would want them to speak with you. Place the person before the disability (not "disabled person," but "person with a disability,") and focus on accuracy (e.g. "confined to a wheelchair," isn't accurate; a wheelchair is anything but confining).

Your body language is just as important as the words you use. When talking with someone in a wheelchair, try sitting or kneeling next to them to increase eye contact. If someone with an intellectual disability has an assistant or aide, don’t talk to the aide in place of the person.

Man on adapted bike.  People playing tennis.  Girl swimming