UK charity Scope serves the disabled. Twenty years ago, it was known as The Spastics Society. The decision to change its name came as a medical term shifted to become a childish term of mockery.
“In the build-up to making the decision to change the name at all, a defining moment was when we saw the research that showed that young parents of disabled children were not associating with The Spastics Society," said Richard Brewster, who was then the charity's communications director. "What the research said was that our future was walking away from us.”
The new name was selected because of the linguistic difficulty of turning it into an insult, a pattern followed by various other UK charities. The cost, reports the BBC, is weak branding that "haunts the charities because of their earnest positivity," though I suspect that this is a problem that only able-bodied Britons worry themselves with.
Scope's research shows that disabled people are far less subject to abuse than they were 20 years ago, but still deal with significant discrimination in services and employment.
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