RE: Including People With Disabilities?
From: Michael John Omogrosso (
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 08:55:13 -0600
Cudos to Brian Sullian for asking the oft avoided question "Is my 
statement PC (offensive to you whom I am talking about)?"  

Several years back as a community college newspaper editor defending 
people  who use wheelchairs from the hurried inconsiderates charging 
infront of them into elevators and the like, I used the term wheelchair 
bound.  My friend, who I observed this very thing happen to, respondeded 
rather harshly.  "I do not sleep in my chair, nor do I take a bath or 
relieve my bowels in it," she said.  I read a flyer she sent me on proper 
journalistic referencing of disabled/alterabled descriptors which I passed 
it on to my readers in the next editorial.

It all does depend on the group or individual addressed.  If you are 
concerned, ask she, he or the specific group (seeing impaired, learning 
disabled, head injured...).  There are local, regional, national and 
international organizations--most quite likely with net addresses and 
even web sites.  Sorry I'm not up on it enough to give directions.

Here are a few suggestions for referencing people with disabilities:
>handicapped is an arcane legal term which acutally means having your cap 
in your hand to beg for your existance.  sweet huh?
>disabled is often preffered, yet I know some physically and mentally 
challenged folks who surpass me in effort and accomplishment.
>Alter-abled is another option indicating a positive emphasis on abilities 
>Madam, sir, Harry, or sweet thang depending on your personal proximity 
are the best direct referencing avail-able.
>use slang only as a self reference--many of us are in fact TABS or 
TABBIES. Here that as Temporarily Able Bodied.  I'm not quite sure if i 
can avoid the TAB label by being a writer who cant spell--What do you think?

Lastly, here at East Blair Housing Coop, we have zero out of 22 units  
that are wheelchair accessible, though several could be adapted should a 
new or current member have need.  So the above is meant as 
freindly information and not as contentious finger pointing.

Love and peace, Michael Om

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