Inclusive communication is about how to produce publications that include, accurately portray, and are accessible to disabled people.
This guidance aims to help you to:
- communicate using inclusive language and know which words to use and avoid when writing about disability
- include disabled people in your communications and campaigns and make sure that they’re portrayed positively and realistically
- make sure your communications are accessible
- choose and use appropriate communication channels to reach disabled people
- There are over 11 million people with a long term illness, impairment or disability in Great Britain. Communicators must be confident their messages will reach everyone, including disabled people. This can be done by ensuring all communications are inclusive and accessible.
The Office for Disability Issues wrote this guidance for government communicators but it may also be useful to others. This is predominantly used in employment, but has also been used in disability sport like the Paralympic Games.
For example, when I represented Bermuda at the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a reporter, we were expected to use inclusive communication. We we’re expected to indicate the difference between a Paralympian and a Para-athlete.
As per the official IPC website and catalogue on terminologies for para sportspersons, the Preferred term is Para Athlete. If however a person does compete in the Paralympics, then they become a Paralympian. If a person competes in the Paralympics once, then they will always be called a Paralympian.
We weren’t allowed to use the term ‘disabled’, especially when writing articles and headlines. We say ‘person with disabilities’ instead of ‘disabled person’.
This is in place to target labelling and stereotyping. It also gets rid of the stigma centred around disability.