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Leonard Cheshire launches campaign for better use of language around disability

28 April 2021

Disability charity Leonard Cheshire has launched a new campaign around the use of language relating to Disabled people. A list of appropriate and inappropriate terms for Disabled people suggests saying “non-disabled” rather than “able-bodied” and “person with visual impairment” instead of “blind person”.

A spokesman from Leonard Cheshire told The Daily Telegraph: "Ignorance about the correct language to use when talking to people with disabilities is rife in the UK… Nearly three quarters of disabled people - of which there are more than 14m in the UK - say more needs to be done for non-disabled people to understand that their words cause offence… We found that 46% of all disabled Brits feel regularly 'ignored' or 'over-looked' by non-disabled people due to widespread use of inappropriate or demeaning language… More than one in ten of the disabled people we asked said they were having to correct the misuse of language around disabilities a staggering 4-6 days each week."

It also found that a third of 1,000 non-disabled people said they often worried about “saying the wrong thing” when speaking to a Disabled person.

DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “Language is important. It’s time we all dropped the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing and started having honest, vulnerable conversations about why specific terms hurt and why other terms are much more empowering. The root of the issue is increasing awareness and understanding across society. We welcome this campaign’s efforts to change thinking and the words used in the national conversation about disability.”