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"Ableism is a form of discrimination or prejudice against individuals with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities that is characterized by the belief that these individuals need to be fixed or cannot function as full members of society (Castañeda & Peters, 2000). As a result of these assumptions, individuals with disabilities are commonly viewed as being abnormal rather than as members of a distinct minority community (Olkin & Pledger, 2003; Reid & Knight, 2006). Because disability status has been viewed as a defect rather than a dimension of difference, disability has not been widely recognized as a multicultural concern by the general public as well as by counselor educators and practitioners.


Laura Smith, Pamela F. Foley, and Michael P. Chaney, “Addressing Classism, Ableism, and Heterosexism in Counselor Education”, Journal of Counseling & Development, Summer 2008, Volume 86, pp 303-309."

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The Social Model of Disability


The Social Model of Disability, developed by Disabled people, states that people have impairments but that the oppression, exclusion and discrimination people with impairments face is not an inevitable consequence of having an impairment, but is caused instead by the way society is run and organized.

The Social Model of Disability holds that people with impairments are ‘disabled’ by the barriers operating in society that exclude and discriminate against them.

Avoiding Ableist Language: Suggestions for Autism Researchers

(click title for full article - also important for non-researchers)

"The purpose of this commentary is to define, describe, and offer alternatives to ableist language used in autism research. According to the Center for Disability Rights, ableism “is comprised of beliefs and practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or the other.”1 The effects of ableism on autistic people include, but are not limited to, underemployment, mental health conditions, and victimization. The motivation for this article stems from ongoing discussions between autism researchers and the autistic community, with noteworthy contributions from individuals who belong to both groups. We prioritize the perspectives of autistic people because they have first-hand expertise about autism and have demonstrated exceptional scientific expertise. Autistic adults have led advocacy against ableist language, with broad applicability across age groups. The autistic community advocates for autism research that is accessible, inclusive of autistic participation and perspectives, reflective of the priorities of the autistic community, of high quality, and written in such a way that it does not contribute to the stigmatization of autistic people. Although there has been progress on these fronts, some of the language used to describe autism and autistic people within published research continues to increase marginalization."

ableist language.JPG
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