Disabled Students or Students with Disabilities?

Objective

Explain why the ACTon resources use the terminology disabled students; note that the use is not intended to be exclusionary.

Reading time: approximately 1 minute.

ACTon frames disability as a form of relational diversity that exists within physical and social working and learning places (e.g., the accessibility of physical and/or social places to enter or navigate within, the attitudes regarding what disabled students can or cannot do in places). We focus on the intersection of disability with other social attributes and identities; however, we acknowledge other forms of oppression exist for individuals who seek education and employment. We use disabled students as an identity-first language, in line with the preferences of ACTon team members who identify in this way. We acknowledge that other terms, such as students with disabilities and students who identify with disability may be preferred by some. ACTon refers to “non-disabled students and disabled students” as students.

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