New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense


Disability Is Natural Books and Media

Life Beyond the Label

Words are loaded pistols. Jean-Paul Sartre

You can stroke people with words.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

We’re so accustomed to using disability labels, we seldom consider using any other words to describe a person with a disability. But how important is the label? Does it really tell us very much about an individual with a disability? And how might life change when we choose to use other words?

Before answering these questions, let’s acknowledge that in today’s current system, disability descriptors represent a sociopolitical passport to most services: no label, no services. So while I wish labels would become as extinct as dinosaurs, they are a necessary evil within certain environments. We grievously err, however, in using these labels in the community, with friends and neighbors; in churches, employment settings, inclusive classrooms in public schools; and other every day settings . . .

There are many ways to move beyond the disability label. And the actions we take will make a difference not only in the lives of people with disabilities, but also in how they’re perceived by society. We truly can—in small ways and large—change the world by helping change attitudes and perceptions! Click here to continue.