Clinical Language


In healthcare and other clinical settings, medical professionals often use diagnostic language to discuss disability and care concerns. No training standard currently exists to educate future doctors on treating people with cognitive, physical, and developmental disabilities.  

There is a lack of research focused on the differences in language used within clinical settings and in published articles, both academic and practical. This gap is reinforced by research showing that large numbers of doctors have never received training in caring for patients with disabilities.

Many doctors, nurses and medical professionals are unaware of how to respectfully talk to and about those in the disabled community. This gap can lead many patients to feel disrespected and potentially make them less likely to seek out medical care

Treating patients with disabilities requires medical professionals to spend time overcoming potential communication barriers, use less diagnostic and clinical language, and be more understanding and respectful of each person. In turn, patients can help doctors and nurses improve by requesting accommodations as necessary, advocating for their needs, and informing healthcare providers about their language preferences.