Inclusive Communication at the Paralympic Games

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.


About Daniella-Jade Lowe

Hello, My name is Daniella Jade Lowe. I am a PURSUN researcher and I am working on marketing myself as an Accessibility Consultant. Journalism and Politics are my passion. I have a BA degree in History and Politics. What type of disability do you have? At birth, I was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus which are neurological conditions. As a result, I use a wheelchair for mobility. What is disability to you? The only disability is a bad attitude. I have a disability. It doesn’t completely define me; it just enhances me in a way which differentiates and strengthens me. My disability should be viewed as an ability: to see the world in a different way. I don’t really like the term because sometimes it indirectly implies someone is dysfunctional or helpless. The most important thing is to never make assumptions. Someone with a disability can be very, physically, fit and strong, highly intelligent and articulate. What has been your experience from the time you remember till now? - positive and negative experiences. My life as a wheelchair user has been generally okay. Wheelchair Accessibility is frustrating. I was teased a little in school. Other than that, life is great. How do you cope with: -daily activities - your disability, do you have times when you are down - people's reactions towards you. I have carers, a Social worker, District Nurses, a GP, and extended family in this country. I am also in contact with a local disability charity in Yorkshire. I also have a friendly landlord. How do you keep yourself motivated? I must stay organised and practice good time management. I also prioritise my plans. What is your word or advice - to those with disabilities? - to the society Don’t let people put you in a box. You have a voice, use it. 10. Tell us about your platforms if you have any- Blog: The View from Where I Sit Facebook: Daniella Jade Lowe Instagram: @daniellajadelowe/@theviewfromwheresitblog Thank you!