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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Research Center Produces Spanish Version of Disability Language Guidelines

Source: RTC/IL

The University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living (RTC/IL) has produced a Spanish language version of its internationally known Guidelines: How to Write and Report About People with Disabilities.

Logo - University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living Life Span InstituteSince the first edition of the Guidelines was published in 1984, some of its recommendations have been adopted by the Associated Press, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association and other organizations. “The sixth edition was the only previous version that we translated into Spanish,” noted Center Director Glen White, “but as language evolves, we saw a need for a new Spanish edition.”

“We know that Spanish has many regional variations, and our focus on colloquial expressions presents real challenges for translation,” said White. “Yet we feel it is important to make this information available to Spanish speakers in the United States and around the world. Our goal is to encourage people to use respectful language and to stimulate conversation about what that means in their own culture.”

Katrina Birge, a 2011 graduate of KU, translated the Guidelines and its companion poster, “Your Words, Our Image,” from English into Central Mexican Spanish. “Sadly, in Central and South America, disability rights and perceptions of disability are extremely far behind,” she said. “My co-workers and cousins in Mexico have never heard some of these respectful terms.”

White’s personal connection with Peru also inspired the new Spanish translation. He has made 16 visits to Peru since 1998 to assist with development there of an independent living movement for people with disabilities, including a trip in January 2016.

The eighth edition of the Guidelines includes updated definitions of terms, plus three new sections: “Rosa’s Law and the Language of Bullying,” “Key Concepts in the Disability Community” and “A Few Exceptions.” The companion poster highlights selected terms from the brochure.

For more information, contact: Val Renault,, 785-864-0575.

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