What's in a Word

Words, whether spoken or signed, are the basic means by which people communicate. Words are powerful tools which can affirm and empower. At the same time, the misuse of words can belittle and demean. Language used to describe people with disabilities often focuses on lack of ability rather than on competency. Age-old terms such as “deaf and dumb,” “invalid,” or “idiot” continue to be used despite their disrespectful tone and the inaccurate message they convey.

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