The use of language can have a significant impact on how people with disabilities are perceived and treated. Using language that is offensive, condescending, or stereotypical perpetuates ableism. For example, words like “cripple”, “retarded”, and “handicapped” should be avoided. It is important to use person-first language (e.g., “a person with a disability”) and to be conscious of the words you are using when talking about people with disabilities.
2. Attitudes & Assumptions:
Our attitudes and assumptions can have an invisible yet powerful influence on how we interact with people who have disabilities. We should strive to be aware of our own biases, and work towards shifting them if they are not inclusive or respectful of people with disabilities. We also need to recognize that different disabilities may present in various ways, and it is not always obvious that someone has a disability.
Creating environments where everyone can access services, information, and opportunities should be a priority. This includes making buildings and websites fully accessible by implementing universal design principles or providing reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. It also involves removing physical barriers such as steps, narrow doorways, and inaccessible bathrooms.
4. Education & Employment Opportunities:
People with disabilities should have access to the same education and employment opportunities as everyone else without discrimination or prejudice. This includes a commitment to creating learning environments that are inclusive of students with disabilities, offering job-training programs specifically for people with disabilities, and promoting workplace policies that ensure equal opportunity for everyone.
5. Service Provision:
When providing services to people with disabilities there is a need to treat them with dignity and respect. This includes taking into account all of their individual needs and abilities, as well as ensuring that communication is accessible for all. It also involves providing learning, social, recreational, and other supports in order to ensure the overall inclusion of people with disabilities.
6. Harassment & Abuse:
Harassment and abuse directed at people with disabilities is unacceptable and should not be tolerated. This includes verbal harassment (e.g., name-calling or derogatory comments), physical assault, or any form of discrimination based on a person’s disability. It is important to actively address any instances of harassment or abuse that occur in your community and take steps to prevent them from happening again.
7. Representation & Visibility:
People with disabilities should be represented in all aspects of society, from the media to the workplace. This means having people with disabilities featured in advertisements and movies, creating job opportunities for them, and recognizing their achievements. It also includes making sure that resources are available to support people with disabilities and ensure they have access to the same opportunities as everyone else.
8. Awareness & Understanding:
Raising awareness and understanding about disability issues is essential for creating a more equitable society. This can be done by educating people about disability rights and advocating for laws that protect those rights. It also involves providing training on how to interact with people who have disabilities in a respectful manner, as well as how to create accessible environments.
9. Policy & Legislation:
Creating policies and legislation that promote the rights of people with disabilities is essential for creating an inclusive society. This includes passing laws to ensure that services, accommodations, and other resources are available to them, as well as promoting regulations that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. It also involves pushing for changes in existing policies and practices to ensure everyone can access the same opportunities.