Universiteit Leiden

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'For some, the word disabled or disability means they are ‘not able’ or less capable than others. Some people argue that they do not own a disability, but are instead 'disabled' by the world around them when it is not built with accessibility in mind.
This is called the social model of disability. The term 'differently abled' is also sensitive as some find it patronising and inaccurate.'

Source: NHS Digital's Ability Network

The language we use to refer to ourselves and others is important. It shapes our perception of people. There has been much debate in the Disabled community and beyond about the language we use to address individuals with a disability. This debate also affects the way Leiden University communicates with their staff and students.

You want people to feel addressed and to be treated with respect. At the same time, you need to ensure that staff and students can find relevant information that they are searching for quickly.

Therefore, Leiden University settled on a mix of a Person-first and Identity-first approach. These are two common ways which embrace the reality of disability whilst highlighting the person who has it. This was decided with feedback from disabled students and staff.

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