Expanding Views

Rethinking The Stereotypes

The language an organization uses reflects its approach to people who have disabilities and their families. It also impacts profitability. According to Diversity, Inc., customers are more likely to buy goods and services from companies that use language that is positive, inviting and inclusive.

For people who have conditions that are defined as disabilities, emphasis is often placed on their deficiencies or abnormalities. Organizations that reframe this thinking open themselves up to growth opportunity, positively effecting the bottom line.

Reframing Disability
Old Model of Thinking New Model of Thinking
Disability is a deficiency. Disability is a difference .
Being disabled is negative. Being disabled, in itself, is neutral .
Disability resides in the person. Disability comes from the interaction between the person and the environment.
The remedy is a cure or normalization. The remedy is a change in the interaction between the person and the environment.
The remedy comes from a professional. The remedy comes from the person , and anyone who affects the arrangements between the person and the environment.
Adapted from Carol J. Gill, Chicago Institute of Disability Research, 1994

For well over a decade, businesses have been reframing the language and perception of people with disabilities, helping to build workplace environments that are fully inclusive along a continuum of differences.


For consultation and support, contact your regional Disability Employment Specialist (800-328-9095).