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Disability Expert Sees Rise In Inclusive Language

Independent Living Resource Center Service manager Shawn Walters speaks with a client.

There continues to be an improvement in the area of using inclusive language when referring to people with disabilities. It's something that experts want to build on.

Shawn Walters is the service manager for the Independent Living Resource Center in Wichita, which helps people with various disabilities: mental, physical or developmental. He says it's important to learn what language a person prefers when describing their disability.

Old wording can label people with disabilities as victims. Walters says overall, people are using a lot more of the correct terminology.

"We are now even seeing things like handicapped parking spaces that are now being labeled as 'accessible parking' rather than 'handicapped,'" Walters says. "So I think some of that old wording is starting to disappear over time and I’ve seen it just in the six years that I’ve been here."

Instead of saying "confined to a wheelchair" or "wheelchair-bound," Walters says a person can say "wheelchair rider" or "wheelchair user."


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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