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  • What's in a Name: Our Only Label Should Be Our Name
What's in a Name: Our Only Label Should Be Our Name
Written by
Rachana Arya
May 2018

Words are indeed powerful. 

I recently attended a workshop conducted by KEYSTONE INSTITUTE, INDIA on Social Role Valorisation. What a transformational workshop with some very tender moments in the shared exploration!

For the first time, I actually realized how [everyday] language reinforces attitudinal barriers and devaluation. And how this invisible force perpetuates hurtful wounds to people who have a condition we call ‘disabilities’.

When we see the medical condition of the person as his defining characteristic, we devalue him or her as an individual. We mask his competence, abilities, gifts, and strengths when we do not divorce “disability” from the “person.” 

Would you want to be known for your arthritis, sexual dysfunction, migraine or any such diagnosed medical condition? No! 

Suppose you were the only one who failed a math test. Would you want to be called “the math failure”? Never! So, how can you define others by a medical characteristic!

Labels degrade.

People with disabilities are not autistic, retarded, blind, deaf, learning disabled or any other label. They are parents, sons, daughters, employees, friends, neighbours, students and more. 

They are a “person” first and foremost! A medical condition cannot be the most definitional aspect of their identity!

It’s certainly time to create an accepting and enabling community – by addressing individuality, instead of lumping people together basis their disability.

If Not You, Who? If Not Now, When?

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