We recognise that language and identity are very personal to every individual, therefore there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to terminology.
Wherever possible, the key is to ask how a person chooses to identify, rather than making assumptions or imposing your beliefs. Each person’s relationship to language and identity are deeply personal, and everyone’s identity choices should be respected. This is referred to as Person-centred language and is the approach of getting to know the individual and learning from them. The most important terminology will always be what is on the back of a person's football shirt, their name.
As Para Football, when speaking generally we have chosen to adopt the approach of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), using person-language such as 'persons with disabilities'.
Further down on this page we share information about both 'Person-first' and 'Identity-first' terminology.
First and foremost we refer to football players, because everyone who plays the beautiful game is a football player regardless of disability or any other characterisitic.
Persons with disabilities
The term 'persons with disabilities' is used to apply to all persons with disabilities including those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various attitudinal and environmental barriers, hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
It is also important to note that a person with disabilities may be regarded as a person with a disability in one society or setting, but not in another, depending on the role that the person is assumed to take in his or her community. The perception and reality of disability also depend on the technologies, assistance and services available, as well as on cultural considerations.
The drafters of this Convention were clear that disability should be seen as the result of the interaction between a person and his or her environment. Disability is not something that resides in the individual as the result of some impairment. This convention recognizes that disability is an evolving concept and that legislation may adapt to reflect positive changes within society.
United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The Convention follows decades of work by the United Nations to change attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. It takes to a new height the movement from viewing persons with disabilities as “objects” of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing persons with disabilities as “subjects” with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
Person-first language means “person with a disability”. This implies someone is a person first and just happen to be disabled. It puts emphasis on the person, and implies that their disability is only one part of who they are and should not be the focus. Persons with disabilties are capable of doing anything a person without a disability can, even with having a disability.
Identity-first language is the equivalent of saying “disabled person”, which means you identify a person's disability first. Some feel that having the disability front and center destigmatizes the disability as a bad thing. A disability is by no means the only important aspect of someone, but it’s thought to be no less important than someone’s gender identity, race, religion, or other form of identity. Many deaf people prefer identity-first language, not person-first, and reject “hearing impaired” because many do not perceive an inability to hear as a deficit.
Para Football is currenty working with our range of partners to develop further resources around terminology within Para Football. Should you have any questions, please contact us here