RE: A few thoughts on language.

I agree with all Jamie says and have found it hard to fit in with the W3C terminology but with the options available – thank you John  your last one is the shortest and ‘cognitive impairment’ is something we have been using despite its limitations
Best wishes

Mrs E.A. Draffan
WAIS, ECS , University of Southampton
Mobile +44 (0)7976 289103<>
UK AAATE rep<>

From: Rochford, John []
Sent: 13 July 2015 13:17
To: lisa.seeman; Jamie Knight
Subject: RE: A few thoughts on language.

Hi Lisa and All,

Perhaps this a good opportunity to simplify our task force’s name to the:

·      “Cognitive Impairments Accessibility Task Force”; OR

·      “Cognitive Impairment Accessibility Task Force”; OR

·      “Cognitive Impairments Task Force”; OR

·      “Cognitive Impairment Task Force”


John Rochford<>
UMass Medical School/E.K. Shriver Center
Director, INDEX Program
Instructor, Family Medicine & Community Health<>
Twitter: @ClearHelper<>
[Facebook Button]<>[Twitter Button]<> [WordPress Logo] <>

From: lisa.seeman []
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2015 6:52 AM
To: Jamie Knight
Subject: Re: A few thoughts on language.

Hi Jamie
This is an important issue, that we have been struggling with. The problem is that so many of the alternative terms are used to mean different things in different locations. For example LD means something else entirely in the US and Europe.

Cognitive impairment is being used in a limiting way in the US - see

I love the term neurodiversity. The problem is a lot of people do not know what it means.
All the best

Lisa Seeman

Athena ICT Accessibility Projects <>
LinkedIn<>, Twitter<>

---- On Mon, 13 Jul 2015 13:28:01 +0300 Jamie Knight<<>> wrote ----
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


This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and
may contain personal views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in
error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the
information in any way nor act in reliance on it and notify the sender
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails
sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to

Received on Monday, 13 July 2015 12:58:52 UTC