Terminology used in Enabled Archaeology

The following was provided to us by the wonderful Theresa O’Mahony and the Enabled group and we hope it will provide an insight into ways you can change behaviours of yourself, your company, or others which would make a small daily difference.

Enable – Has two meanings:

  1. To aid people’s knowledge, familiarisation, understanding and therefore bringing equality, attitudinal and social acceptance for all dis/Abled people who prospectively or do participate in any area of archaeology today.
  2. To equip and empower dis/Abled people to overcome the obstacles towards their inclusion in many areas of archaeology, whether in equipment, negative attitudes, employment, higher education, or volunteering. This is for not only enabled archaeologists but for all those wishing to take part for the first time.


The process of becoming enabled by providing the equipment or knowledge to become enabled, which is just the same for all people in archaeology.


Aiding the return of (dis/Abled) enabled archaeologists to re-learn (after illness, bad experiences, or years away) and/or gain back the confidence and skills they may have lost in this time period. This is a vast subject area but includes such processes as knowing how to deal with any archaeological social situation and any professional negativity or even prejudice that folks may encounter to their full inclusion within archaeology. This also covers other areas such as new technology and equipment to encourage and support job searches, interviews, how to get recognised for your skills within employment, studying, counselling and fieldwork. (The list goes on and on!)


Enabled archaeologists will have learnt in their own lives the self-coping strategies needed, for each physical and invisible dis/Ability they have in daily life and within archaeology. This can include the above processes or none of the above.

Positive Terminology used in Enabled Archaeology:

Within the positive terminology below, these words emphasise our Abilities and not our disabilities.

  • Blind
  • Cognitive Disability
  • Deaf
  • Has mobility issues
  • Learning Disability
  • On the Autistic Spectrum
  • Partially deaf
  • Person who has (any mental health condition)
  • Person who is (blind, deaf etc)
  • Person with  (multiple sclerosis and so on)
  • Physical disability
  • PWDs (people with disabilities)
  • Strategies …(such as self-coping, intellectual etc)
  • Non- Visible disability
  • Uses Crutches
  • Uses a Cane
  • Wheelchair user (meaning the liberty of a wheelchair being a tool of and for independence)


Negative or/and Offensive Terminology:

Many of the words below in the negative list refer to us not only in the negative, but supports the medical model of disability which stated it is the fault of the individual’s medical illness or condition that the person is disabled, and medical practitioners must eradicate as much as possible the disability so that in society we all ‘look the same’ as everyone else or ‘normal’. I ask what is ‘normal’ anyway?

  • Able-bodiness
  • Afflicted by …
  • Brave
  • Confined to a wheelchair
  • Crazy
  • Crippled by….
  • Deaf – Mute.
  • Differently abled
  • Disorder (mental health conditions)
  • Handi-capable
  • Handicapped
  • In a wheelchair
  • Impaired….(usually something like: deaf or sight impaired, or speech impaired)
  • Inspiration
  • Invalid
  • Lame
  • Maniac (bi-polar)
  • Mental Defective
  • Midget
  • Resilient
  • Retard
  • Specially abled
  • Suffering from,
  • Suffering with…
  • Surviving despite…..
  • Temporarily able-bodied
  • Vertically challenged (dwarfism)
  • Victim of…
  • Wheelchair bound