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disAbility Awareness A Closer Look at People First Language

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1 disAbility Awareness A Closer Look at People First Language
Carolyn Phillips and Liz Persaud January 17, 2013

2 Introduction to Presentation: State Assistive Technology Programs
The Assistive Technology Act of 1998 Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Mission: Maximize health and well being of people with disabilities through technology See customized partnership tool for your state AT program

3 3 “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.”  Anne Lamott

4 Agenda Welcome and Introduction
Exploring the Tools for Life program and Assistive Technology Making the Connection - Language & Etiquette disAbility Etiquette – Helpful Tips Ask It Basket / Q&A

5 What are your questions? Here is your opportunity!
Ask It Basket! What are your questions? Here is your opportunity!

6 Tools for Life Georgia’s Federal AT Act Program
On February 1, 2012 we joined: The Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) Georgia Institute of Technology Enterprise Innovation Institute [EI2]

7 Tools for Life: Georgia’s Federal AT Act Program
Developed Georgia’s Plan for AT Serve individuals of all ages & all disabilities in Georgia Over 45,000 thru various activities throughout the year TFL Network Assistive Technology Resource Centers Lending Libraries Training and Demonstrations AT Reuse AT Funding Education/Assistance and Resources - 12,000 unique visitors a month

8 Tools for Life: Mission
Tools for Life increases access to and acquisition of assistive technology devices and assistive technology services for Georgians of all ages and disabilities so they can live, learn, work, and play independently in the communities of their choice.

9 Who are We Serving Over 54,000,000 individuals in the United States have disabilities that affect their ability to: see hear communicate reason walk perform other basic life functions People with disabilities are the largest minority group in America. This group cuts across racial, ethnic, religious, gender and age boundaries. Anyone can become a member of this minority group at any time. Public Law

10 What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

11 Defining Assistive Technology
Assistive technology – “Any item, piece of equipment, product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” Assistive technology service – “Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.” Public Law

12 Why Assistive Technology?
For a person without a disAbility, technology makes things easier. For a person with a disAbility, technology makes things possible!

13 Examples of Assistive Technology
Vehicles and Vehicle Modifications Digi-Drive Home Modification Ramps Roll-in showers Environmental Controls Computers and Adaptive Software Mobility Aids Wheelchairs Walkers Crutches Hearing Aids FM Systems Vision Equipment Video Magnifiers Screen Magnification

14 Tools for Life Network AT Lending Library (try before you buy)
AT Evaluations & Training (focus on the individual) AT Demos – Promote Choice Resource and Referral (Assistance) AT Funding Assistance (CFII) DME Reuse (FODAC)

15 Guiding Principles We – Collectively – are Brilliant & Can find an Innovative Path and Create Brighter Futures We must Think, Live and Act from a place of Abundance – We have enough time, money, resources… We Must Focus on Abilities! You have the Power to make the Difference!

16 What Can One Person Do?
I AM ONLY ONE PERSON I am only one person What can one person do? Rosa Parks, Was only one person, She said one word She said it on December, 1, One person Said One word She said it on a bus She said it to the bus driver On Cleveland Street in Montgomery The bus driver said, "Stand up, woman, And Give up your seat To that White man!" Rosa Parks, One person Said one word The Word was "NO!" One woman Said one Word And a nation Blushed! One woman Said one word And a world Talked! One woman Said one word And the Supreme Court Acted! One woman Said one word And the buses were Desegregated! I am only one person. What can one person do?

17 Guiding Principle DisAbility is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to: (A) live independently; (B) enjoy self-determination and make choices; (C) benefit from an education; (D) pursue meaningful careers; and (E) enjoy full inclusion and integration in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of society in the United States. Public Law

18 A change in Language and Attitude can change everything!
Making the Connection A change in Language and Attitude can change everything! Our Actions Our Work Culture Environment & Our Language & Attitude

19 Common Ways People with Disabilities are viewed and treated:
Unfortunately, and inaccurately, people with disabilities are often viewed as: victims, or objects of pity horrible or grotesque burdens, either on society or on their families and careers evil, or some threat to the comfort and safety of others unable, or assumed to be unable, to do things having multiple disabilities (such as assuming that a person who uses a wheelchair also has an intellectual disability) childlike "special" Such misconceptions are based on insufficient or inaccurate information about people with disabilities and can perpetuate inappropriate interactions. – Disability Awareness Kit

20 Attitudinal Barriers for People with Disabilities
People with disabilities face many barriers every day–from physical obstacles in buildings to systemic barriers in employment and civic programs. Yet, often, the most difficult barriers to overcome are attitudes other people carry regarding people with disabilities. Whether born from ignorance, fear, misunderstanding or hate, these attitudes keep people from appreciating–and experiencing–the full potential a person with a disability can achieve. - National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

21 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
Inferiority - Because a person may be impaired in one of life's major functions, some people believe that individual is a "second-class citizen." However, most people with disabilities have skills that make the impairment moot in the workplace. Pity - People feel sorry for the person with a disability, which tends to lead to patronizing attitudes. People with disabilities generally don't want pity and charity, just equal opportunity to earn their own way and live independently. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

22 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
Hero worship - People consider someone with a disability who lives independently or pursues a profession to be brave or "special" for overcoming a disability. But most people with disabilities do not want accolades for performing day-to-day tasks. The disability is there; the individual has simply learned to adapt by using his or her skills and knowledge, just as everybody adapts to being tall, short, strong, fast, easy-going, bald, blonde, etc. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

23 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
Ignorance - People with disabilities are often dismissed as incapable of accomplishing a task without the opportunity to display their skills. In fact, people with quadriplegia can drive cars and have children. People who are blind can tell time on a watch and visit museums. People who are deaf can play baseball and enjoy music. People with developmental disabilities can be creative and maintain strong work ethics. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

24 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
The Spread Effect - People assume that an individual's disability negatively affects other senses, abilities or personality traits, or that the total person is impaired. For example, many people shout at people who are blind or don't expect people using wheelchairs to have the intelligence to speak for themselves. Focusing on the person's abilities rather than his or her disability counters this type of prejudice. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

25 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
Stereotypes - The other side of the spread effect is the positive and negative generalizations people form about disabilities. For example, many believe that all people who are blind are great musicians or have a keener sense of smell and hearing, that all people who use wheelchairs are docile or compete in Paralympics, that all people with developmental disabilities are innocent and sweet-natured, that all people with disabilities are sad and bitter. Aside from diminishing the individual and his or her abilities, such prejudice can set too high or too low a standard for individuals who are merely human. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

26 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
Backlash - Many people believe individuals with disabilities are given unfair advantages, such as easier work requirements. Employers need to hold people with disabilities to the same job standards as co-workers, though the means of accomplishing the tasks may differ from person to person. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require special privileges for people with disabilities, just equal opportunities. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

27 Types of Attitudinal Barriers
Denial - Many disabilities are "hidden," such as learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, epilepsy, cancer, arthritis and heart conditions. People tend to believe these are not bona fide disabilities needing accommodation. The ADA defines "disability" as an impairment that "substantially limits one or more of the major life activities." Accommodating "hidden" disabilities which meet the above definition can keep valued employees on the job and open doors for new employees. Fear - Many people are afraid that they will "do or say the wrong thing" around someone with a disability. They therefore avert their own discomfort by avoiding the individual with a disability. As with meeting a person from a different culture, frequent encounters can raise the comfort level. National Collaboration on Workforce and Disability

28 What was your first experience with people with disAbilities?
Let’s Talk What was your first experience with people with disAbilities?

29 "See Me" by Madeleine Alston
You look But you don’t see me. You see a crutch. A bald head. A scar. A disease. An object of pity. You don’t see the person. The determination. The fear. The vitality. The passion for living. The capacity for love. Open your eyes And look without prejudice. Look beyond my leg. Look beyond my illness. Look into my world. See the many pieces, Not just one. A complete person. And see me.

30 The Power of Language Language is continually evolving, and that includes language related to people with disAbilities. Staying current is important, not to show that you are "politically correct" but to communicate effectively and with respect.

31 31 “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” Mark Twain

32 What is Value-Laden Language?
What you say and write may enhance the dignity of people with disabilities or inadvertently reflect stereotypes and negative attitudes. Some words and phrases don’t recognize the broad range of capabilities of people with disabilities. People with disabilities don’t need or want to be pitied, nor should they be deemed "courageous" or "special" as they accomplish daily activities or work.

33 Promotes Value-Laden Language Reduces sense of: Distance Stereotypes
Pigeon-holes Reduces sense of: Self-worth Power Self-direction

34 Value-Laden Language: Promotes Distance
We vs. They Good vs. Bad Strong vs. Weak High vs. Low (expectation) Sick vs. Well Superior vs. Inferior

35 Value-Laden Language: Promotes Distance
Abnormal Afflicted Burdened Defect Deformity Maimed Palsied Spastic Stricken with Sufferer Victim Invalid

36 What does the word "Handicapped” mean? Value-Laden Language

37 Value-Laden Language "Handicapped" is an archaic term (it's no longer used in any federal legislation) that evokes negative images of pity, fear, and more. A legendary origin of the "H-word" refers to a person with a disAbility begging with his "cap in his hand."

38 Value-Laden Language disAbility-Neutral disAbility-Negative
people with disabilities, the disability community ("disabled" is an adjective, so must be accompanied by a noun.), the blind community, the Deaf community has a disability, is a person with a disability, physically disabled, walks with a cane, uses leg braces has a disability non-disabled, person without disabilities, uses a wheelchair disAbility-Negative the disabled, the blind, the deaf crippled, suffers from, afflicted with, stricken with, victim of, invalid impaired, impairment normal person, healthy, whole, wheelchair bound

39 Value-Laden Language disAbility-Negative disAbility-Neutral
The disabled The handicapped Disabled parking Handicapped entrance Confined to a wheelchair Wheelchair bound disAbility-Neutral People with disAbilities Accessible parking Accessible entrance Person who uses a wheelchair Wheelchair user

40 Value-Laden Language disAbility-Negative disAbility-Neutral
hearing impaired, hearing impairment visually impaired, visual impairment dumb, mute stutterer, tongue-tied CP victim, spastic epileptic fit, attack disAbility-Neutral deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind low vision, blind person who has a speech or communication disability person with cerebral palsy person with epilepsy, person with seizure disorder seizure, epileptic episode

41 Value-Laden Language disAbility-Negative disAbility-Neutral
crazy, lunatic, insane, nuts, deranged, psycho retard, mentally defective, moron, idiot, imbecile, Down’s person, mongoloid slow learner, retarded dwarf, midget disAbility-Neutral people with mental health issues, mental illness, mental disability, psychiatric disability developmentally disabled, developmentally delayed, person with mental retardation, person with Down syndrome has a learning disability, person with specific learning disability person of small stature, short stature; little person

42 Value-Laden Language disAbility-Neutral disAbility-Negative
man with paraplegia, woman who is paralyzed, person with spinal cord injury congenital disability, person with a disability from birth person who had polio stay-at-home, hard for the person to get out disAbility-Negative paraplegic, quadriplegic birth defect post-polio, suffered from polio homebound

43 Using People First Language is Crucial
Using People First Language is Crucial! People First Language puts the person before the disAbility, and it describes who a person is not what a person has.

44 Making the Connection between Our Language and Attitudes…

45 Etiquette - Attitudes If you’ve never directly interacted with someone with a disAbility, it is not unusual to feel uncertain about what to do. Here are some helpful tips to guide you…

46 Communication: Speech or Language Disability
Communicate as naturally as possible Concentrate on the content of the conversation not the delivery Be patient, do not complete words or phrases for the individual Job Accommodation Network

47 Communication: Speech or Language Disability
Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices provide communication access through typed or pre-programmed words and sentences, or through pictorial symbols.

48 A Closer Look at Mobility
There are many different kinds of mobility disabilities and there are a variety of assistive technology devices that can provide assistance, such as: Wheelchairs (Manual or Power) Scooters Crutches or Walkers Canes Animals (Service or Companion)

49 A Closer Look at Mobility
Is the accessible parking near the entrance? Are the curb cuts blocked? Where are the automatic doors located? Are they switch operated or motion sensor? Weight of doors?

50 A Closer Look at Mobility
Where are the ramps and elevators located? Are the public transit stops easily accessed? Are the doorways wide enough for passage? Where are the accessible restrooms located?

51 A Closer Look at Mobility
Sit down while communicating for long periods of time Eye Contact! Try not to have a conversation behind someone Identify Yourself! Don’t lean on wheelchairs or scooters Personal Space! Never make Assumptions When in doubt, always ask!

52 Hearing Loss and Communication Tips
Speech reading: Do not position yourself with a window or light behind you Speak clearly - do not exaggerate or shout Rephrase Get feedback - “beware of the nod” Maintain eye contact Finger-spelling

53 Service Animals What is a service animal?
Any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disAbility. Some examples: Guide dogs Alerting people who are Deaf or have hearing loss to sounds Pulling wheelchairs, carrying or picking up items Psychiatric service dogs

54 Service Animals Service animals are not pets
Care and supervision is the responsibility of the owner Some wear special harness and collars; ask if you are not sure U.S. Department of Justice

55 Helpful Tips: Blind and Vision Loss
It’s ok to invite the person to describe the extent of their vision 75% of those who are “blind” have some vision Do not assume that everyone reads Braille But make sure you have Printed materials in large print (24 pt font) and Braille

56 Helpful Tips: Blind and Vision Loss
Identify yourself and tell when you are leaving. Use specific directions i.e. “right, left” not “over there” “that way.” Use language naturally. Don’t avoid words like “look” or “see”.

57 Helpful Tips: Blind and Vision Loss
Talk directly to the person, not their personal assistant. Most of adults with vision loss can sign their own name, might need assistance as to where to provide signature.

58 Helpful Tips: Blind and Vision Loss
Make the person aware of Structural barriers and obstacles in public areas. Provide directions to where guide dogs can relieve themselves.

59 Tips for Being a Sighted Guide
Ask if the person would like assistance Offer your arm, never grab the person’s arm or try to direct by pushing or pulling Relax and walk at a comfortable normal pace; Stay one step ahead of the person

60 Tips for Being a Sighted Guide
Always pause when you change directions, step up, or step down. To guide a person to a seat, place the hand of your guiding arm on the seat. The person you are guiding will find the seat by following along your arm. Am. Foundation for the Blind

61 disAbility is often a consequence of the environment… so, Change the Environment to be Inclusive & Accessible!

62 What Can You Do? Use disAbility Positive Language Lead by Example
Insist that other do so too Change Language from “Handicapped” to Accessible

63 What Can You Do? Be the Positive Change Maker: Challenge Employers
Ask employers how many folks with disAbilities they have employed – in real jobs, making real wages If employers see that you Believe that people with disAbilities can work, they will too. Be Contagious!

64 What Can You Do? Break Barriers – Build Solutions
What are the barriers you see? Physical, Attitudinal Can all members of your community … eat in Every restaurant, participate in every community activity, navigate your city safely, live independently, get a education and a job with opportunities for promotion?

65 What Can You Do? Educate and Advocate
People are Listening - What are You saying? People are Watching - What are You doing? Practice What You Preach Carry information with you every where. Know your resources! Learn & share info about Assistive Technology

66 What are your questions? Here is your opportunity!
Ask It Basket! What are your questions? Here is your opportunity!

67 67 “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” William James

68 Tools for Life -
Resources Tools for Life - Assistive Technology Act Programs (state-by-state) -

69 Thank You! Carolyn Phillips Program Director Liz Persaud Training & Outreach Coordinator This presentation is produced by Tools for Life which is a result of the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended in It is a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Enterprise Innovation Institute [EI2], Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC) and is funded by grant #H224C of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Department of Education. The contents of this presentation were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, Georgia Tech, EI2 or AMAC and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal government.

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