Say What You Mean: Rethinking Disability Language in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly (APAQ) currently mandates that authors use person-first language in their publications. In this viewpoint article, we argue that although this policy is well intentioned, it betrays a very particular cultural and disciplinary approach to disability: one that is inappropriate given the international and multidisciplinary mandate of the journal. Further, we contend that APAQ’s current language policy may serve to delimit the range of high-quality articles submitted and to encourage both theoretical inconsistency and the erasure of the ways in which research participants self-identify. The article begins with narrative accounts of each of our negotiations with disability terminology in adapted physical activity research and practice. We then provide historical and theoretical contexts for person-first language, as well as various other widely circulated alternative English-language disability terminology. We close with four suggested revisions to APAQ’s language policy.

Danielle Peers, Nancy Spencer-Cavaliere, and Lindsay Eales are in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Danielle Peers at
Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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