Reply To: ”Person with an Impairment”

  • schroth-sensei

    October 12, 2021 at 3:20 am

    Generally from what I’ve seen, the average American tends to say “Disabled Person,” arguably it’s an improvement over “The Handicapped,” which is seen as crude and insulting (Over the last decade or so even the “Handicapped Parking” signs have been traded out for “Disabled Parking,” I don’t remember exactly when I last saw the former).

    Government jargon is still a bit mixed, but seems like handicapped is mostly out and disabled person and/or person with a disability (PwD) is preferred. However, I think sometimes it may be a matter of text space/cost to write “Disabled Parking” instead of “Person’s with Disabilities Parking,” this includes building design plans where you may have limited space to write as much information as possible (I often used abbreviations or shorter words in the plans I made).

    Education system can also be a bit mixed, typically “Disabled Student” by the general education populous, and “Student with a Disability” by those who teach students with Exceptionalities (I’ve seen some great teachers educate other teachers of the difference in how one puts the person before the disability instead of the opposite). Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teachers are probably the greatest advocates for using terms like PwD, but also in avoiding such terms as much as possible (i.e. the student learns differently). You can usually tell the difference in the Education of the author (Gen. Ed. vs. ESE background) of college textbooks because of this.

    As for Impairment, I almost always hear it paired with visual or hearing. I don’t recall it being used for a general disability in decades (even then I only remember a doctor once asking, “what’s your impairment?” and thought it odd even then). Attached with visual/hearing, I also see it typically under the umbrella of PwD, just used to specify a particular disability. I highly doubt that “Person with Impairment” will replace PwD here in the US, it would probably be more confusing as well.

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