Viewpoint: Is it time to stop using the word "disability"?
- 30 September 2015
After running a campaign to urge toy manufacturers to include disabled characters in their collections, Rebecca Atkinson started to wonder if the word "disability" might also need a positive makeover.
Cripple, deaf-mute and lame all fell out of favour a long time ago and are now considered insults. By the 1980s and 90s "handicapped" was gradually replaced with "disabled" as a new way of thinking about disability emerged - called the social model. Attitudes change and as a consequence so does language.
Recently there has been a shift towards person-first language and now "people with disabilities" is often more popular in general usage over its predecessor "disabled people". I have noticed too that people in the disability community sometimes like to emphasise the "ability" part of the word with hyphens or capital letters: dis-ability or disAbility.
In April this year I started an online campaign urging the toy industry to include positive representation for the 150 million children worldwide with disabilities. I began making-over toys by marrying princesses with guide dogs or wheelchairs and giving hearing aids to fairies to create a fun and colourful disability aesthetic. I took photos of my creations and posted them on the web under the name ToyLikeMe.
The images conveyed not a shred of pity, no hint of inability, no inkling of dependence - the many things that people associate with the word disabled. It went viral and, what had started as a hobby, soon gobbled up my life. I quickly found myself writing post after post on the subject, late into the night.
Disabled Syrian's struggle in Calais migrant camp
- 29 September 2015
Ali is 21 and has been living in difficult conditions in a migrant camp in Calais for over a month now.
After deserting President Bashar al-Assad's army in Syria, he says he was tortured and bombed by them which left him in a four-week coma and with brain damage. He also lost the use of an arm.
John Lennon mocking disabled people causes a stir
- 25 September 2015
On Inside Ouch this week: archive footage of John Lennon mocking people with learning disabilities has caused a stir online, was it offensive or just of its time?
Also, is it time for the word "disability" to be replaced by something else? We chat about what other words could be used. Just click here to listen.
The quadruple amputee who needs the correct prosthetic
- 15 September 2015
When Alex Lewis spoke to BBC Ouch in January about becoming a quadruple amputee, what shone through was his remarkable positivity. This remains - but his rehabilitation is being hampered by the need for prosthetics unavailable to him.
"I don't want to be on benefits or care allowance. It feels like they are shackles around you," Mr Lewis, from Stockbridge, Hampshire, tells the Victoria Derbyshire programme.
The blind hiker who takes on the wilderness
- 11 September 2015
Striking out on your own to hike the trails of America's backcountry, with just your dog for company, would be a dream for many. But what if you can't see the trail, and your dog is key to your survival?
Trevor Thomas, 46, had his life abruptly interrupted when he lost his sight 10 years ago through a rare eye condition. He was looking to move away from his career in corporate sales and had just completed a law degree. A self-professed "adrenaline junky", he loved racing his Porsches and downhill mountain bikes. Now, as a blind man, he pits himself against nature, which he says, is the greatest opponent of all.
Is it wrong to imply disabled people are not "normal"?
- 10 September 2015
Iain Duncan Smith has been criticised for calling non-disabled people "normal". Why does the word make people angry?
The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, said in the House of Commons while defending the government's record on getting disabled people back into employment that "we are looking to get [the employment rates of disabled people] up to the level of normal, non-disabled people who are back in work."
'Standing out' as a disabled foreigner in Japan
- 4 September 2015
On this month's Ouch Talk Show we talk about being disabled in Japan.
Presenter Kate Monaghan speaks with three expats with cerebral palsy who have moved from America, Canada and the UK to make their lives in Japan. We hear about travel, stigma, work and mental illness as a disabled person in the country.
Circus act with disabled performers reclaiming the 'freak show'
- 4 September 2015
"Freak shows" used to be a popular pastime in Victorian times where people with "unusual" or "different" bodies would be shown off and exploited for the benefit of an audience.
But a circus act featuring disabled artists is hoping to reclaim the term.
Difficulties of getting fit if you're disabled
- 28 August 2015
My favourite thing about being disabled has always been that no-one expects me to do any exercise.
I have cerebral palsy (CP) and the assumption that I couldn't take part in sport while growing up was one I was happy to embrace because I hate physical exercise.
Did BBC3's disability season hit the mark?
- 20 August 2015
BBC Three's Defying the Label season came to an end last week. But did it hit the mark? Disabled journalist Frances Ryan thinks it did.
If you caught even part of BBC Three's Defying the Label season - the channel's biggest ever season of disability related programming - it was easy to sense the relish of the commissioning editors. Over the past month, there have been 15 specialist documentaries, current affairs features, a factual drama and a comedy panel game show that covered topics ranging from sex and relationships to hate crime. At times, it was as if BBC Three felt they were single-handedly filling in the wasteland of mainstream coverage of disability. Perhaps they were.