Talking about disability

Find out more about ways to communicate about disability and the different ways of viewing disability


Communication is both verbal and non-verbal and people will have different preferences as to how you communicate with them.

When using verbal communication, use appropriate and inclusive language for the person or group you are communicating with.

Below is a link to the government guidelines on using inclusive language.


Participants playing table tennis

Attitudes towards disability affect the way people think and behave towards disabled people. They also impact on outcomes for disabled people in the way they are treated and able to participate in society.

There are several ways or ‘models’ of viewing disability, which can be used to devise strategies and policies for meeting the needs of disabled people.

The ‘Medical Model’ considers the person’s impairment first and focuses on the impairment as the reason that a person with a disability cannot access services.

The ‘Social Model’ of disability considers that people are disabled by barriers in society, rather than their impairment. This model attempts to remove these barriers to allow people to be independent.

The ‘Biopsychosocial Model’ of disability is an attempt to account for both the social and medical models of disability. It suggests that to understand a person’s medical condition it is not simply the biological factors that need to be considered, but also the psychological and social factors.

Why not check out our range of practical and classroom-based training courses to continue your learning?



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