Dubai is a city of vision and the future, which is why it was that last month international and local experts in the field of disability gathered in the city to discuss how it could be better equipped for people with disabilities. Under the umbrella of The Government of Dubai’s My Community…
A City for Everyone initiative – which aims to improve transport, education, and housing for people with disabilities by 2021 – the Dubai Inclusive Development Forum was two days dedicated to discussing the needs of disabled people. Crucially, one of the most fundamental of those needs being addressing the actual language of disability. Aisha Miran, assistant secretary general of strategy management and governance sector at the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, presented a terminology handbook, which is available for the general public and aims to break down stereotypes and myths, by providing politically correct terms, and explaining why some expressions are no longer considered acceptable. Miran feels strongly that the document can be a reference for the media, schools and the general public, and can be downloaded online for free at www.mycommunitydubai.com.
This handbook tackles issues such as how to avoid patronising people with disabilities. One tip, for example, states, “Don’t be embarrassed using such phrases as ‘See you soon’, ‘Walk this way’, or ‘Got to run’. These are common expressions,” says Miran. “And they are unlikely to offend.” Miran says that both the handbook and improving the language of disability in general is all a part of creating a more integrated society. “The inclusion of people with disabilities in the community needs innovation,” she says. “The provision of several supporting social services as well as promoting social awareness everywhere, would help their inclusion and confirm their
participation in the development of a bright future for the emirate.”