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In this reflectary, you will find key terms on universal accessibility, independent living, decision-making support, and self-identification.

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Ilustración que muestra una escalera con peldaños altos, una flecha ascendente y un símbolo de pesos. Un hombre sube dando zancadas, mientras que otro en silla de ruedas, se queda detenido frente al primer peldaño.


Ableism (Capacitismo) This is a type of discrimination and oppression towards people with disabilities founded on a system of beliefs in the framework of capitalism. It is based on an ideal of a person where their value resides in their functionality; in their physical, sensory, cognitive, and mental characteristics; and in their productivity or economic contribution. It underestimates and rejects

Acceso a la justicia

Access to justice

Access to justice (Acceso a la justicia) Access to justice is the right of people with disabilities to exercise their legal capacity and to be recognized equally before the law. It is defined in Article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006): 1. ‘States Parties shall ensure effective access to justice for persons

Dos personas sentadas de frente ante un escritorio sonríen y miran a la cámara. La mujer usa silla de ruedas y tiene una computadora en frente. El hombre sostiene un papel en la mano.

Advanced decision making

Advanced decision making (Toma de decisiones anticipadas) This mechanism allows people to express their will regarding a situation that has not yet happened, but that will probably occur. In other words, it allows people with disabilities to state what their decision would be should they not have the ability to understand, make decisions, or express themselves. The same thing occurs

Icono de una persona de pie con un megáfono en la mano.


Advocacy (Incidencia política) This is the set of actions to influence the decisions and behaviors of decision makers. The goal is to position the causes and interests of a specific group of people or citizens. References: Collado, H. (2015). Incidencia política: concepto, importancia y herramientas.    Photo credit: bearsky23 Have any questions? MODII can help! Send your query

Mujer de espaldas, que se coloca un audífono mientras se mira al espejo.

Assistive devices

Assistive devices, technical aids (Ayudas técnicas) These are external products for personal use, such as devices, equipment, instruments, or computer programmes that facilitate mobility, communication, or performing every day tasks. They allow people with disabilities to improve or compensate reduced functionality or prevent and mitigate future loss in function. These instruments, equipment, or technical systems greatly contribute to enabling independent

Mujer en silla de ruedas que sostiene un micrófono


Autonomy (Autonomía) This is the ability to make one’s own choices independently, without coercion or the influence of third parties. Ultimately, it is the ability to choose freely. It refers to moral autonomy, which is the ability that we have to choose beyond physical autonomy or the possibility of performing certain actions without the help from third parties (Raffino, 2020).

Hombre joven con silla de ruedas frente a una escalera con muchos peldaños.


Barriers (Barreras) This refers to the environmental factors in a person’s surroundings that condition the way they are, act, or participate in it. For the WHO, environmental factors consist of the physical, social, and attitudinal environment in which people live and carry out their lives. In other words, they could include physical aspects such as an inaccessible environment; communicational ones,

Una pizarra con dos flechas que van de la letra A a la letra B. Una flecha es recta y la otra da muchas vueltas.

Cognitive accessibility

Cognitive accessibility (Cognitive accessibility) It is the characteristic of things that are easy to understand (Real Patronato sobre Discapacidad, 2019, p. 92). Especially for people with intellectual disabilities, it is important that contents and the way they are communicated be clear, precise, and simple. This way, everyone can acquire the information that they need in order to participate in society

Ilustración de pluralidad de personas con distintas discapacidades.


Disability (Disability) This is a dynamic and living concept that changes based on the evolution of the social movement of people with disabilities and as a result of regulatory and social victories. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines this as the ‘interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and

Plano desde arriba de una mujer que está por levantar una barra con pesas. La mujer usa una prótesis en una pierna.

Disabled feminism

Disabled feminism (Discafeminismo) The word in Spanish (discafeminismo) was coined by Cristina González, and its use has spread especially among organizations and groups of women with disabilities. The idea is to highlight the double discrimination that women with disabilities face. According to González, ‘when someone faces various discriminations, these are not added up, instead they multiply and strengthen.’ Women with

Primer plano de un teclado, en el que una de las teclas es de color azul y muestra el icono de una persona en silla de ruedas.

Easy read

Easy read (Lectura fácil) This method of writing and text adaptation seeks to simplify form, content, and language. It facilitates access to and the comprehension of information for people with intellectual disabilities, but also for those who have difficulty reading or poor schooling, including those whose first language is not that of the original text. These are a few characteristics:

Primer plano de las manos de una mujer con guantes y las uñas pintadas, que escribe en una computadora.

Electronic accessibility

Electronic accessibility, e-accessibility (Accesibilidad electrónica) It is characteristic of electronic and digital content, and virtual platforms which enables people to use them without difficulties or barriers. That is, electronic accessibility aims to ‘[overcome] the barriers and difficulties that people experience when trying to access goods and services based on ICTs’ (European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, 2015). Accessibility

Pictograma de una mujer con una cruz en el abdomen al lado de unas tijeras.

Forced sterilization

Forced sterilization (Esterilización forzada) This is an imposed or coercive procedure where a person is sterilized without their free and informed consent. It is a form of physical violence that specially affects girls and young women with a disability, especially those with a developmental or intellectual disability. This practice —which has physical and emotional consequences— is based on various reasons.

Una mujer en silla de ruedas escribe en un papel con un bolígrafo.

Free and informed consent

Free and informed consent (Consentimiento libre e informado) This is the provision of complete, timely, and accessible information that a person must receive to express their will. Usually, this refers to the will to undergo a health-related treatment or procedure including mental, sexual, and reproductive health. It could also represent a tool that allows a person with disabilities to express

Una ilustración con decenas de personas que representan diversidad en cuanto a la edad, la corporalidad, las capacidades, el sexo, la identidad de género, el origen étnico, la cultura y la religión, entre otras.

Human diversity

Human diversity (Diversidad humana) Human diversity is the variety of specific personal characteristics that make every person unique and different from others. These distinctive qualities of each person shape the plurality of identities that enrich societies. Some of these characteristics are age, social class, socio-economic status, corporeality, health, capacities and skills, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, culture, religion,

Un grupo diverso de seis personas con diferentes discapacidades que miran a la cámara y sonríen.

Independent living

Independent living (Vida independiente) This refers to one of the demands made by the movement of people with disabilities for the right to live in community and for the respect for equality, self-determination, and autonomy. It originated in the United Sates in the 1970s, but it has expanded to many parts of the world. The demand, nonetheless, is the same:

Una mano sobre una placa de metal con sistema braille.

Information and communication accessibility

Information and communication accessibility (Information and communication accessibility) It is the characteristic of texts, images, audios, videos, both digital and printed; information systems and technologies; and communications, including the internet, that enables them to be used and understood by persons with disabilities. This type of accessibility includes developing alternative formats that can be used by persons with disabilities, such as

Ilustración de un hombre diminuto que intenta detener el martillo de la justicia que sostiene una gran mano.


Interdiction (Interdicción) This is a legal mechanism to substitute a person in their decision-making, and provide another person with the power to do so in their name. There are different types of interdiction, including plenary guardianship, legal interdiction, and partial guardianship. These mechanisms vary depending on local regulations, but they do have common characteristics (Committee on the Rights of Persons

Plano medio de una mujer racializada, con el rostro serio y los brazos cruzados en el pecho. De fondo, hay personas fuera de foco que sostienen carteles.


Intersectionality (Interseccionalidad) The term was coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an Afro-American academic, to highlight the way in which gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, and other individual identity characteristics intersect to create a different personal experience regarding systematic oppression. This is a way to understand social relations through the intersection of the different types of discrimination that people face. According


Legal capacity

Legal capacity (Capacidad jurídica) This is the universal attribute inherent in all persons to be the holders of rights and obligations. It refers to the right to be recognized as a person, on equal terms, before the law. This is a right that should not be restricted, not even in exceptional cases. In other words, no one ceases to be