The use of disability language is widely accepted as a valid tool to communicate disability issues to potential employers and employees.
But there are serious implications if the language is not treated respectfully.
It is not uncommon for employers to not use the language of the disability to communicate important aspects of the job, according to a survey conducted by Disability Language Guide and Speech Language Impersonator (DLEIS) in February.
According to the survey, one in four employers said they would not use disabled language to communicate to a deaf employee, and another in six would not allow a disabled person to sit in a position where they would be unable to communicate effectively with others.
In some instances, employees said they were told by managers or HR that they had to use the disabled language because they were not deaf, and that the employer could not tolerate the use of the language.DLEI said that many of the workplace concerns related to disability language are common, and often not properly addressed.
For example, many employers do not respect disability language use because it is deemed inappropriate.
Employers may be reluctant to hire an employee with a disability because of concerns about their ability to understand the disability language.
Employers may also not accept that the disabled person is disabled, despite their disability, and may even discriminate against them.
The survey also found that the use or misuse of disability speech in the job is very common.
Some employers reported that their disabled employees were verbally abused and sometimes verbally and physically abused during the course of their employment.
Dleis said that it is important for employers, particularly those working in the public sector, to address these issues.
“When you are in a situation where you need to communicate the information that you need from the employer, then you need some form of language that is respectful and in keeping with the requirements of your job,” said Dr. Michael Kessel, chief executive officer of DLEIS.
“So what you do is you create a safe space where you can use the disability-specific language that you have, and where you have the capacity to understand it and you are comfortable communicating with it.”
Dleisl has launched a national campaign called DLEISE, which encourages employers to adopt disability language policies.
The campaign encourages employers, including government departments, employers of the self-employed, employers who employ children, and other employers to make the same policy changes.DELAWARE: Disability language guide to the workplace