Words matter. The way we use them to communicate with or about others can have a huge impact on people’s lives. This is especially the case when it comes to disability. Handicapped. Retarded. Mad. Activists have campaigned hard to eradicate such terms, which are offensive and perpetuate a negative view of disabled people – one as passive, unable to take control over their own lives.
Responding to this demand, recent government guidelines have encouraged clinicians and teachers to use positive and inclusive language, including the use of language that does not define people by their disability.