[games_access] Terminology

Barrie Ellis oneswitch at gmail.com
Sat Dec 11 05:20:25 EST 2010

Personally, I find that term bit wet, but each to their own. Also realise I'm in a minority not liking being described as white (I'm pink and occasionally brown - I'm definitely not white - and I've never seen a black person in my life - pretty sure we're 99.9% somewhere between very pale pink and very dark brown - not such polar opposites). In the context of game accessibility I prefer to talk of the barriers people face (Physical barriers, Cognitive barriers etc.) rather than people's limitations. We're looking for solutions to remove the barriers that disable people. Yes there's cross over between the medical model of disability and the social model - but I'm not a doctor. I much prefer the social model (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_model_of_disability). For me, I'm set on "Disabled People" in this field - until the barriers are removed. Then they're just people.

[steps down from well-worn soap-box]...


From: Ryan Arndt
Sent: Monday, December 06, 2010 5:19 PM
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [games_access] Terminology

curious how people view the term "differently abled" as when I did my degree (BEd), this was the term of choice. What do you think?

Ryan Arndt
IGDA Global Community Manager

On 2010-12-04, at 7:59 PM, Michelle Hinn wrote:

I guess because of my age, I went through the 1970 "handicapped/handicappible" argument where some with disabilities felt that handicappable was a preferable term. So whenever I hear handicapped, I think back to those years (it was something on 70s children/teen TV, etc). After that seemed to be the search for a new term -- whether that was something that was pushed by the disabled community or those without disabilities? I do not know. I've just met many, unlike yourself, who have an issue with the term. So perhaps it's an age thing?

Perhaps my own reference to being a "person with a disability" (rather than "disabled person" comes from both my academic background as well as the fact that one of my disabilities is medical (and later made medically worse and causing physical limitations) when being treated for the "cure"). That's a very good possibility!

I agree, though, disability doesn't stop and in the end whatever term anyone wants to use about themselves, is ok.

I think, however, when it comes to cognitive disorders, cognitive or learning "handicaps" is problematic. Mainly because terms like "disorder," "disabilities," "limitation," etc seems to sound better than "handicap." And, yes, I have a learning disability. :)


On Dec 4, 2010, at 9:24 PM, Steve Spohn wrote:

I’ve found very few who dislike handicapped (U.S. thing maybe) – even golf uses handicap as in “a disadvantage.” Mark prefers to say “gamer with disability” due to people complaining but used to say disabled gamer. I still say disabled gamer but that’s because I avoid medical/academic sounding phrases at all costs.

No fight from my end, I’m just stating “person first” is GREAT in a hospital. I hated when Drs referred to me as “kidney in bed 8” but in real life I think the disability is imposed on the person. Therefore, saying person with disability is attaching it to who I am. Barrie hates handicap as do most UK’ers, so we try to avoid it. However, you, Mark, Aaron, and I are handicapped (and in the U.S.) so the word doesn’t have negative connotations. So, all I can add is:

1. Being disabled never stops
a. There is no break but you can conquer barriers
2. Don’t say cripple or gimp
a. Notice broadened horizons is “GimpGear.us” but promotes BH
3. Handicapped is iffy
a. Never met someone in the U.S. who is disabled who minds handicap
b. U.K. people dislike it
4. Those who are disabled are more hardened against words
5. Person first is personal preference but it is more often used by academics and medical people

Steve Spohn
Associate Editor
The AbleGamers Foundation


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