Language of Disability - Self Advocates Speak

Disability and Inclusion

In this film, we learn how words can influence our perception towards people with disabilities. The self-advocates in the film describe themselves in their own words and highlight the importance of using language that puts the person first.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each individual in this video: Prashant Ranjan Verma, Dipendra Manocha, Dhanya Ravi, Dhruv Shirpurkar, Pooja Mehta Nandi, Vinod Rawat, Jai Hopf Patni, Sunita Sancheti, Asharao Doshi, K Murali, Ishan Chakraborty, Madhu Bala Sharma, Vineet Saraiwala, Angshu Jajodia and Jeeja Ghosh. Their contributions are invaluable in highlighting the importance of respectful and empowering language in the discourse surrounding disabilities.

Negative terminology can perpetuate stereotypes and hinder opportunities for people with disabilities. The movie wants people to think about the words they use and asks everyone to use language that is correct and respectful.

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My name is Prashant Ranjan Verma.

I am an Assistive Technology expert and Social worker.

I live in Delhi with my wife Veena.

Veena is totally blind and I have Low vision, which is also called ‘partially sighted’ or ‘partially blind’.
I am Dipendra Manocha, Founder-Trustee, Saksham, and I have lived a life with blindness so I’m a person with blindness myself.
Hi, I’m Dhanya Ravi, a person with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and a Locomotor disability.
Hi, I’m Dhruv Shirpurkar and I’m a person with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I’m a wheelchair user.
I am Pooja Mehta Nandi and I’m a person with Epilepsy.
I am Vinod Rawat, left foot amputee and I'm using Advance Jaipur Foot.
Hi, I am Jai Hopf Patni and I am an Arts-based therapy practitioner and I’m on the Autism spectrum.
Hi, I’m Sunita Sancheti, I have Spinal cord injury, I’m paraplegic.
Hello, my name is Asharao Doshi and I’m currently a student in The Department of Special Education in SNDT Women’s University and I am living with Learning Disability and ADHD.
‘Deaf and Dumb’ is wrong. ‘Deaf’ is the term. D E A F. That’s it.
The phrase that I prefer for myself is ‘person with disability’, person-first language.
But I'm also okay with uh ‘disabled persons’, but the words and phrases which I do not support at all are ‘handicapped’, umm ‘crippled’, uhh or for example, ‘divyang’, ‘specially-abled’.
I mean, these are either very patronizing, sort of uhh either trying to gloss over uh some sort of an identity or on the uhh on the other poll, it is uh trying to uh sort of outright it, it's being out rightly demeaning and pejorative and derogatory. So, I prefer the phrase ‘persons with disabilities’.
When we talk about language to use for people with disabilities, uh there are multiple views.
And a lot of the times people feel that let’s call them differently-abled and this is again focusing on we-versus-them mindset.
I feel each one of us, is differently abled in our own ways and so why use those euphemisms for us?
We’re not specially-able, we don’t have a sixth sense.
We have a sixth sense which is equal to anybody else, you know, who would have a sixth sense.
We sharpen our other senses, to make up for the missing sense, does not mean that we have a sixth sense.
Personally I don’t like any labels but for the sake of representation, I would prefer ‘blind’ uh because this is a condition in which I am living with, no matter whatever word you use for this, the factual condition for me, as an individual with disability won’t change and uh again, disability is not a bad word at all.
Hi, I’m Angshu Jajodia, Assistant professor at National Institute of Technology, Durgapur and I’m deaf.
The term deaf and dumb is popular because it is very easy to stick that label to people who cannot speak.
Uh Sign language is still not a major, majorly accepted means of communication in our country.
So when you call them uh deaf and dumb, it means that you are segregating them into that particular uh class or category of people, who cannot speak and therefore cannot do anything else.
But remember, that people are just like anybody else.
They can do everything, provided they have the access to those opportunities.
Language, even though some people might think, what can language weigh in disability?
Language has a very powerful role.
Language, language is a medium of self-esteem.
Like we say ‘handicap’, that-that when we-when we go into the story behind the word, we really understand the negative connotation.
Like some of the terms in the regional language which give negative vibes, giving negative vibe is a kind of negativity.

More FAQs

Familiarize yourself with and expand your vocabulary of disability-related terminology! 
Z - Zero tolerance for discrimination
H - Hearing loss
I - Interpreter services
N - Neurotypical
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