See the wonderful new campaign that shows how people with disabilities want to be treated 12

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A new campaign has been launched in Australia to raise awareness about the diversity and ability of people with disabilities. It’s cleverly titled, “Don’t DIS my ABILITY“.

The campaign provides Australians with tools to help them think and act inclusively with disabled people.

The top tip of the campaign is simple: people with disability lead the same kind of lives as you and me. So, when communicating with or about people with disability, don’t be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. By hesitating about interacting with someone with a disability, you may end up excluding them by default.

The campaign aims to increase knowledge and understanding in the community about everyday life of people with disability. For instance, the video clip called A Day In the Life features Graeme Innes, who is blind, and his guide dog around the city. He states, “some people try hard to help. Others just don’t see me. And some people just don’t know what to do.” The campaign provides a platform to promote positive perceptions and build an environment that encourages active inclusion at work, school, home and in the community.

More than 1.3 million people in NSW have a disability. That’s around 1 in 5 so chances are you know someone with a disability.

Take a look at the “Day in the Life” video below and tell us your thoughts about the campaign. 

Here’s a short etiquette language guide of what’s hot and what’s not:


  • The person always comes first! Use phrases such as ‘person with a disability’
  • Say ‘has a disability’. People don’t suffer just because they have a disability
  • Where possible use the appropriate clinical name, such as ‘personal with schizophrenia’ or ‘person with mental illness’
  • Wheelchairs enable mobility. Say ‘wheelchair users’


  • Avoid terms starting with ‘the’ like, ‘the blind’ or ‘the deaf’. Don’t use words like cripple, slow or disabled
  • Don’t say a person is ‘afflicted with’ or ‘suffers from’ a disability. A disability isn’t something to ‘overcome’
  • Don’t use phrases like ‘crazy’, ‘insane’, or ‘mental’
  • A person is not ‘confined to a wheelchair’ or ‘wheelchair bound’

What do you think of this campaign? Don’t forget to share this insight with your friends, family and community. 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Great to have a campaign, but I’m not impressed with the slogan. I don’t even know if there is such a word as ‘dis’.

  2. Where are the stats on how many people with disabilities the government employs? My informed estimate would be very few.

  3. With two disabled people in my care, this is really close to home. Not so much in how people react to them, but in how I describe them to others. Vic only gets out of bed for bathroom things. But, I hate saying bedridden, yet disabled just doesn’t cover the truth of the matter. He can wriggle, but not move in any coordinated way without help. So, I struggle. To him, he just reckons he’s hopeless, and I have to encourage him all the time and we don’t throw the word disabled around. Hugh is losing his mobility at such a speed it’s scary. A few months ago, with his four wheel walker, he was able to walk around the shops, now he just manages to use it to walk from his bedroom to the living room. We have a disability parking permit. But, if he is a passenger in the car and I get out the drivers side, I can see people stare, as if I’m cheating. They don’t understand that he may have walked into the last shop but has run out of steam. They don’t know he is so frail I can’t leave him alone for long. The word dis is used as a type of slang for ‘don’t disregard.’ I don’t really have problem with it and will be interested to see the program.

    1 REPLY
    • If you have an ACROD pass no one has the right to question or judge you. You sound like a very strong person and I wish you well and the people you are caring for.

  4. My sons fiancee suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She has days when she can barely get out of bed. To see one of her joints dislocate is awful. She is in constant pain and on some days walking is a challenge. She should really have a walking stick but she is only 21 and she is fighting it. It is called the Invisible Illness because to look at her you would think nothing is wrong with her. There are no specialists in Australia. She skypes with a specialist in London.

  5. They want to and need to be treated with dignity and respect and everyone who draws a breath should already be aware of that. And it’s very sad so many people don’t appreciate that.

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