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What’s in a name?

author icon author icon 19/07/2018 author icon Joe's Soapbox

A few years ago, All Wales People First looked at the term ‘Learning Disability.’

We wondered if our National Council thought it was still the right term to use.
This is because some people believe the term ‘Learning Difficulty’ is better.
They think it is better because it reflects the Social Model of Disability.
The Social Model of disability says that society is to blame for our difficulties, not the person.
People First follows the Social Model of Disability. We believe Society has to change to allow us to take part.
But some people argue that using the term ‘Learning Disability’ means that we don’t understand the Social Model of disability.
In 2014 we did three sessions with our National Council.
Paul Swann of Disability Wales explained the Social Model of disability to members.
We did bean voting with members.
The results were very close.
Our members came up with ‘Citizens with a Learning Disability.’
The members said they didn’t want any labels.
They just wanted to be seen as people.
However they did realise that sometimes we need labels if we want to get services or benefits.
We are going to look at the language we use again at our 2018 National Conference.
Tracey Drew and Louise Price will be running a workshop about this.
It is right that we keep checking members are happy with the language we use.
All Wales People First will use whatever language our members tell us to use.
It is important that people across Wales respect our members decision.
It is important that people who do not have a learning disability do not try to change the language without people with a learning disability having a say.
At our conference we will show both sides of the argument to our members.
We will make the case for the term ‘Learning Disability’ and ‘Learning Difficulty.’
We will talk about the Social Model of Disability.
Then they will vote.
We will use whatever term they tell us to use.
Come and have your say.

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