When is the last time you called someone an “Idiot” or “Imbecile”?
I remember those terms being bandied about on my playground often enough. We just picked the words up without thought. But both words were medical terms for persons with intellectual disabilities used in the 1900s.
The corresponding picture, a register from one of our state institutions, has a number of “imbecile” and “moron” references if you look closely.
These words are ingrained in our society. They reflect the depth of stigma and rejection of persons with disabilities that we have experienced over time. This is why social inclusion is such an integral part of anything we do to advance services.
Not only does inclusion allow for friendship and being part of one’s community, but it also teaches neighbors, co-workers, and others that we all share the human experience.
If you know someone with a disability, you are less likely to reject “persons with disabilities.” And you are more likely to appreciate the role of public assistance to level the playing field.