Talking about Intellectual Disability

Talking about intellectual disabilities is not always easy for people who do not work in this field. It is common to read that people “suffer” from intellectual disabilities, or are “disabled”. These terms are not appropriate and do not correspond to the way disability is defined in Quebec, Canada and in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Indeed, disability is more often than not the result of a society that is not adapted to difference and is therefore socially constructed. Thus, a person is not inherently disabled, his or her environment is disabling.

In order to facilitate the work of those who write and talk about people living with an intellectual disability (journalists, politicians, researchers, etc.), the Society has created a number of tools that can help.


It is important to use the right words, as vocabulary can be harmful and perpetuate prejudices and stereotypes about people. Inclusion is everyone’s business.

The Society is always available to answer questions from the public and journalists. If you need more information, please contact us.