Disability Statements

Disability Statement

Disability is a broad term that can encompass many different experiences, identities and diagnoses. People may identify as disabled, Deaf, neurodivergent, chronically ill, having a mental health disability or undiagnosed (among many other intersectional identities they may hold), and all are acknowledged and welcomed within the DCC. The DCC recognizes there are similarities and differences between disabled communities and strives to provide opportunities for connection and community building among and across disability groups as well as with those who are non-disabled. Those who identify as non-disabled advocates, allies or family members are also invited to become involved in the work of the DCC.

Disability Language and the DCC

Respecting how communities choose to describe their own identities and experiences is important and reflects the power language has to shape our perceptions and experiences of the world. The DCC is centered around disability as an identity, culture and community. With this perspective in mind, the DCC intentionally uses identity-first language when referencing disabled people and community. The DCC acknowledges other language choices related to disability, such as person-first language, and respects the choices people make to describe their own identity and experiences. The DCC recognizes some people may still be exploring their own identities and experiences related to the word “disability” or the disabled community. The DCC strives to provide support, education and community to people, regardless of where they are in their journey of disability.

Euphemisms for disability, such as “special needs,” “differently abled” and “handicapable” are rejected by the DCC as terms that “other” disabled lives and fail to acknowledge the real barriers that prevent disabled people from full participation in society.

To learn more about identity-first and person-first language, we recommend these resources:

Learn more about identity-first language on the Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Learn more about person-first and identity-first language from Think Inclusive

The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) statement on  language