Words Matter: Updating Disability Language on Public Signs

Disability Sign

UC UCEDD’s Self Advocacy Representative, Brady Sellet, presented a proposal to the Harrison Planning Commission on March 16, 2013. The proposal would replace the word “Handicapped” with “Accessible” or the universal access symbol on all new and replacement signs in the Harrison area.

Sellet’s proposal to the Planning Commission was the latest in advocacy efforts coordinated by the Harrison Community Network and Diana Mairose, a self advocate with Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services. As Mairose explains, older terminology is outdated and offensive to many people with disabilities. Similar proposals have been met with wide success across the greater Cincinnati area. Hamilton County has already passed a similar resolution for all new signs. Among their many benefits, these proposals are budget-neutral. Changing language won’t cost the cities or counties anything beyond the expected cost of sign replacement. For Mairose, Sellet, and other advocates, however, updating language around disability is an important step towards improved community representation and inclusion.


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