RE: A few thoughts on language.

Hello Jamie

I fully agree with the points that you make - it is the true social-model of disability viewpoint that I think we all understand and share.

I think that within the work of the COGA group we should try to adopt the impairment rather than disability language wherever possible. I will certainly try to ensure that we do that as much as possible in the work that my team are doing in ETSI.

There may be occasions where, depending on the audience, the term disability is more generally recognised and used. In those cases we may need to sometimes use the term but when we do we should also use the opportunity to emphasise the point that disability arises from the environment and is not an inherent aspect of the person.

Best regards


-----Original Message-----
From: Jamie Knight [] 
Sent: 13 July 2015 11:28
Subject: A few thoughts on language. 

Hello All,

Hope everyone is well. I was wondering if it would be worth discussing how we use language.

I see lots of references to 'cognitive disability'. I'm not sure that's the term we should be using.

I have several impairments due to my autistic traits. I also have a number of abilities due to the same.

However It's the environment that limits my ability to do things and thus my 'disability' is environmental.

To use a physical metaphor. If someone in unable to walk (an impairment) and uses assistive technology (a wheelchair) and the environment is inclusive (lifts, ramps etc) then they are not disabled. The impairment becomes as relevant as their eye colour.

In most of the issue papers I have seen we break down challenges by impairment. So perhaps we could adopt the term cognitive impairment.

Additionally, for some the term is neurodiversity. ND respects someone for being different but also part of normal variation, it rejects the medicalisation of a set of common traits or reactions.

I think It's a subtle but important change in language.

I have impairments for sure. But that does not mean I should be disabled by the them.

What do you think?

Jamie + Lion

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Received on Monday, 13 July 2015 10:50:34 UTC