Expert Insights

Latest news stories and opinions about the Dental, GP and Care Industries. For your ease of use, we have established categories under which you can source the relevant articles and news items.

12th April 2017

Why we should think more about the words that we use

This week we saw these open letters written by the Darlington Learning Impairment Network addressed to health and social care professionals.

We think they make some really good points about the words that people use.

Letter 3 mentions some health and social care jargon - words like “Cohort”, “Vulnerable”, “Challenging Behaviour”, and “Co-morbidity”.

It says: “these words are not used to describe how nondisabled people live their lives. We think that by using words like these people are trapped in Service Land… If you are trapped in Service Land it’s really hard to be a citizen and be seen as equal to nondisabled people and be described like everyone else. By using the language of Service Land people are seen as different.”

We agree with this. At My Life My Choice, we try and use the same words for everybody. Trustees with learning disabilities work alongside staff who don’t, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses.

The letter also says: “We think rather than use “special” words to describe people and what happens to them, professionals should use everyday language and say it like it is e.g. Rather than “bed reduction”, how about “reducing the numbers of people who are in hospital and don’t need to be there”. Instead of “Cohort”, “that group of people who…” Shorter isn’t always better.”

We agree. When we go to meetings, we often don’t know what is being talked about because organisations like the NHS have words and phrases which mean a certain thing to them, and are not in plain English. This makes it hard for people who use services to get involved in trying to change things.

The letters also say: “We think that if people can’t change the words they use, how can they be trusted to change the way they do things?”

Promoting participation starts with thinking about and changing some of the words that are used.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

My Life My Choice

MLMC is an Oxfordshire based charity with a national profile whose prime objective is to raise the self-esteem and quality of life for people with learning disabilities. They do this by campaigning, and providing volunteering, training, employment and social opportunities for its members. MLMC also work with other organisations to help produce information for people with learning and communication difficulties that is simple and easy to understand. Read more

Join over 53,000+ users already using the QCS Management System!
Start Free Trial
Back to Top

Register here for your FREE TRIAL

  • Try our unique Management System, or any of our individual packs
  • PLUS! Gain FREE trial access to our Mock Inspection Toolkit
  • Over 2,300+ pages of easy to use guidance and 300+ policies & procedures

Simply fill out the form below and get full access for 24 hours to a QCS Management System of your choice.

Start FREE Trial Click here