What It Should Have Been: Edition #5

By Jorain Ng

We’re now into Round Five of DPA’s public education initiative on proper terminology to describe persons with disabilities.

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Straits Times, 03 February 2015
New home therapy fund to help patients

Original:
President Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan distributing red packets to patients during the Home Nursing Foundation’s SG50 jubilee dinner yesterday. More than 300 wheelchair- bound and semi-ambulant patients and caregivers attended the event.

Amended:
President Tony Tan and Mrs Mary Tan distributing red packets to patients during the Home Nursing Foundation’s SG50 jubilee dinner yesterday. More than 300 wheelchair users and semi-ambulant patients and caregivers attended the event.

Why?
This has been mentioned several times. A person who uses a wheelchair is not actually confined to their chair. Instead, the chair is a tool that they use to have more independence. In that way, the wheelchair is actually a positive assistive tool and so the term ‘wheelchair user’ is a more apt term.

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Straits Times, 01 February 2015
Running event – with a twist

Original:
Mr Goh Giin Huat (left), 40, with running guide Kelvin Lin Yong Wen, 30, during their weekly training session. Mr Goh will be one of five visually handicapped pacers in the Runninghour race…

In another first, the event will have five visually handicapped persons, accompanied by guides, taking on the role of pacers…

Mr Goh, a guitar instructor, started running only in 2012 when he and his visually handicapped friends were asked to join Runninghour, an informal support group started in 2009 by Mr John See Toh, 54, and his wife Chan Jan Siang, 37, both educators.

Amended:
Mr Goh Giin Huat (left), 40, with running guide Kelvin Lin Yong Wen, 30, during their weekly training session. Mr Goh will be one of five pacers with a visual disability in the Runninghour race…

In another first, the event will have five persons with a visual disability, accompanied by guides, taking on the role of pacers…

Mr Goh, a guitar instructor, started running only in 2012 when he and his friends with a visual disability were asked to join Runninghour, an informal support group started in 2009 by Mr John See Toh, 54, and his wife Chan Jan Siang, 37, both educators.

Why?
Also covered before. People with disabilities are individuals first. So, refer to the person first, then the disability. The term “handicapped” is also an outdated or offensive term. Instead, say “pacers with visual impairment” or “pacers with a visual disability”.

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Straits Times, 20 February 2015
Painful advice the recipe to save failing business

Original:
Acting on Mr Lim’s advice, she changed her business model to focus more on catering. This helps to create more jobs for her disabled beneficiaries, most of whom work in the central kitchen instead of her current outlets in Bugis+ and Jem. 

Amended:
Acting on Mr Lim’s advice, she changed her business model to focus more on catering. This helps to create more jobs for her employees with disabilities, most of whom work in the central kitchen instead of her current outlets in Bugis+ and Jem.

Why?
People first, please. Also, the term “beneficiaries” implies that her workers with disabilities are receiving some form of charitable service, which they are not. They are hired to work in the company, so they should be referred to as employees or workers.

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Straits Times, 1 March 2015
School Made More Accessible

Original:
Ansel, 15, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition which causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

Amended:
Ansel, 15, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a condition which causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

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Here are more examples of incorrect terminology: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Have you spotted any other articles with terminology issues? Let me know in the comments below!

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