Charity say terms 'able-bodied', 'epileptic' and 'blind' are offensive

Terms ‘able-bodied’, ‘epileptic’ and even ‘blind’ are offensive and should be avoided, charity says (suggesting ‘non-disabled’ and person with visual impairment’ instead)

  • Several terms been listed as appropriate and inappropriate to use by charity 
  • Includes ‘able-bodied’, which suggested should be replaced with ‘non-disabled’ 
  • Also states term ‘blind’ should be replaced with ‘people with visual impairment’
  • 73 per cent of disabled people believe more needs to be done to educate people 

The terms ‘able-bodied’, ‘epileptic’ and even ‘blind’ are offensive and should be avoided, according to a health and welfare charity. 

Leonard Cheshire, which runs development programmes across the world, compiled a ‘vital’ list of appropriate terms for those with disabilities. 

The list stipulates words such as ‘able-bodied’ should be replaced with the term ‘non-disabled’ because the term suggests every person with a disability does not have an ‘able body’, The Telegraph reports. 

Charity Leonard Cheshire has devised a list of appropriate and inappropriate words and phrases for those with disabilities

Also on the list was the term ‘blind’, which the charity suggests should be replaced with ‘people with visual impairment’, as well as ‘epileptic’, ‘invalid’ and ‘handicapped’. 

A similar list of inclusive language guidelines was published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office of Disability Issues earlier this month. 

The guidance states: ‘The word ‘disabled’ is a description not a group of people. Use ‘disabled people’ not ‘the disabled’ as the collective term.

‘Avoid phrases like ‘suffers from’ which suggest discomfort, constant pain and a sense of hopelessness.’

CEO of Leonard Cheshire, Ruth Owen, said: ‘While these statistics are disappointing, they are a true reflection of what disabled people face on a daily basis.

‘Sadly, sometimes language is explicitly used to cause offence.’ 

Speaking about the list of terms and the new statistics, CEO of Leonard Cheshire Ruth Owen (pictured) said it is a ‘true reflection of what disabled people face on a daily basis’

The latest data from Leonard Cheshire, which has been working with people with disabilities for more than 70 years, revealed 73 per cent of disabled people think more needs to be done to help people understand the offence they could cause someone with a disability.  

Shockingly, 46 per cent of disabled people said they felt ‘ignored’ by non-disabled people and a further 12 per cent said they had to correct people’s use of language at least four times a week. 

The research also identified non-disabled people’s concerns, with 30 per cent of respondents stating they were are worried about ‘saying the wrong thing’. 

Leonard Cheshire supports more than 30,000 people to live, learn and work as independently as they choose with the help of thousands of staff and volunteers.

Helping spread their message, rapper Kray-Z Legz – who was born with spina bifida – has collaborated with the charity to launch a new song titled ‘The Language of Diversity’.

In it he encourages people to educate themselves on disability and to interact with disabled people.  

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