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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

A collection of resources related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

What is Ableism?

Ableism is the discrimination or exclusion based on conscious or unconscious beliefs that people with disabilities are less valuable, and therefore less able to contribute and participate in society. Ableism may be embedded in institutions and can limit opportunities and inclusion of persons with disabilities in community and corporate life.

Able-bodied is someone who does not have a physical disability. It is important to note that able-bodied is not the opposite of disabled, and the preferred antonym is ‘non-disabled’.

Disabled is someone with physical, psychological, or neurological differences that limit their capacity to do a task or activity, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, job functions, self-care activities, etc. 

Handicap is anything that prevents or limits a person’s success in a task or activity. A disability, or a lack of accessibility, can be the reason for a handicap, but the provision of accommodations, assistive technology, and other supports can reduce or eliminate a handicap for someone with a disability. 

Identity-First v/s Person-First Language

Identity-first refers to the language use that places the disability identity first. For example, ‘disabled person’ instead of ‘person with a disability’.

Identity-first language is preferred by many people with disabilities, particularly those who view their disability as an important part of their identity. However, it is best to only use this type of language if you know that it is what the person prefers.

Person-first refers to the language that places emphasis on the person as an individual first and less emphasis on their disability. For example, ‘person with a disability’ instead of ‘disabled person’.

Person-first language should be used unless you know that an individual prefers identity-first language.

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