Disabilities vs. Differing Abilities

Why we say "Differing Abilities" instead of "Disabilities"


Why we say "Differing Abilities" instead of "Disabilities"

In 2013, Melwood adopted a corporate philosophy that called for the organization to formally remove the prefix “dis” from the term disability. Members of our senior leadership team felt that the term, defined as a limitation in the ability to pursue an occupation because of a physical or mental impairment; a disqualification, restriction or disadvantage and a lack of legal qualification to do something, was an inadequate or limiting “label” for a cross section of people. After much consideration we now refer to all of the people we serve as persons with “differing abilities” which is a much more accurate portrayal of their capabilities.

We recognize the specific needs that a person diagnosed with a physical, developmental, neurological, mental health and any other impairment may require. Our organization was established to meet those needs and our decision to change the terminology we use will in no way change the care we give to people with differing abilities. Melwood will continue to strive each day to develop innovative programming that will enhance the quality of life for the people we serve.

We recognize that every person within our organization, whether they are a program director or participant, shares the desire to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our decision to use the term “differing abilities” was a natural evolution of the principles we were founded on: a vision of inclusion for ALL people. In support of our mission and core values we will continue to cultivate the skills the people we serve have attained and empower them to pursue their career and personal goals, recognizing that we all have extraordinary abilities.