Using the right terms



I get very concerned when people claim to understand the social model where their use of language makes it very clear that is not the case. There are two terms to describe someone state and in the social model, disability and impairment are very separate things with generate separate identities.


Impairment relates to the conditions people have and that are in most cases simply facts of life. It is therefore correct to say people have impairments since they have impairments. It is therefore incorrect to say someone is an impaired people as the whole person has not been impaired and that only specific functions will be impairments. Impairments are also 24/7 regardless of the immediate effects as they exist.


Disability is the specific barriers and discrimination used at specific times from how an environment responds to someone impairments. Therefore people are disabled people as at the moment, they have experienced a barrier. Therefore people with disabilities make no sense as it is like saying people with racism, where the racism is only in specific situations.


It make be recognised that it can be argued that most people now have some form of impairments but that very important, having impairments does not necessary means you are a disabled person as you may not experience any discrimination or barriers. It is also very important that disability is not automatically 24/7 and that you are only disabled when you experience barriers.


I feel the lack of awareness of these terms and the laziness of user led organisations and charities in their language is what cause so much confusion about the welfare reforms and what it means to be a disabled people and not just someone with an impairment.  

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