The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

November 9, 2012

'Wheelchair-bound' not appropriate

The Daily Star

---- — I was dismayed to read the headline (and repeated use of the term in the body of the article) stating “Wheelchair-bound patients protest Otsego Manor sale.”

I would like your staff and readers to become aware of “people first language,” and to take note of the fact that people who use wheelchairs are not bound to them. I am attaching a list of examples of acceptable phrases for describing people with disabilities. Further information can be easily found by doing an Internet search for “people first language” or “disability etiquette,” or by contacting Catskill Center for Independence, PO Box 1247, Oneonta, NY, 13820, 432-8000,

Remember that a person with a disability is a person first, and is not defined by a disability.

I also want to point out that anyone can become a person with a disability at any time, whether due to an injury or medical condition, so this can be an issue for any one of us.

Realizing this possibility should help writers and speakers to imagine how they themselves might feel when being described in such a manner.

In addition, please note that people who live in a skilled nursing facility such as The Manor, are referred to as residents, not patients.

Rina Riba