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Our new report shows the continued systemic use of restraint and seclusion in BC schools. Read more.

Watch our 60th Anniversary video that honours and remembers the civil rights history of people with intellectual disabilities in BC. Read more about our history here.

What to Say/ Not Say

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. - Mark Twain

We rely on the media to speak about issues relating to people with developmental disabilities in a way that is both factually accurate and inoffensive to the general public, including people with disabilities and their families.

We are sure you share our concerns so please take a minute to check that your copy is in line with the following language guidelines and that you are not perpetuating any myths about developmental disabilities.

People First Language

Generally, in choosing words about people with disabilities, the guiding principle is to refer to the person first, not the disability.

We promote the use of "people first language". This means that when referring to people with disabilities, you use the term “person/people with developmental disabilities” rather than “disabled person/people.” Disability should not be the defining characteristic of a person, but rather an aspect of the whole.

People with developmental disabilities are friends, employees, students, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and neighbours. Most importantly, they are people first.

Language is fundamental in reflecting the philosophy and the ideas of self advocacy and self-determination.

We don't say...

"Suffers from" or "afflicted with." A developmental disability is not a sickness. The barriers that many people with developmental disabilities face don't come from their disability, but rather from negative public perceptions and lack of accommodations.
Retarded/mentally handicapped/backward. These are archaic terms that we unfortunately still hear today.
He/she is developmentally disabled. Instead, say "he/she has a developmental disability."
The disabled. Instead, say "people with disabilities"

What's New

September 5, 2018
The beginning of a new school year is an exciting time, full of new promise and new challenges for students, families and educators....
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