Children in Scotland events: Inclusive language guidance for trainers
This page offers a short guide to inclusive language. We acknowledge that language and its usage is constantly evolving but want to ensure that our learning experiences are as inclusive as possible. This approach is aligned with our organisational values, particularly ‘Collaborative’ and ‘Open and fair’. Click here to read our values
We will continually review our use of terminology and welcome open discussions about this. Updates to the guidance on this page will be made according to new evidence and learning.
Inclusive language considerations
We recommend that you:
- Consider different communication and information processing styles when planning your training session. This could mean including relatable examples, visual aids, section breaks and/or discussion opportunities
- Plan your training session as a dialogue between you and attendees. Pause regularly to give people a chance to ask questions, contribute and discuss
- Encourage respectful and supportive communication
- Use appropriate language. Avoid using jargon or overly complicated terms
- Use attendee’s preferred pronouns and explain what pronouns you use
- Consider diversity when planning case studies or examples. This could be through the names, pronouns, backgrounds (if relevant) and imagery of any people included in your examples.
Examples of inclusive terminology and further reading
- ‘Autistic people’ is preferred to 'people with autism'. This is informed by language research undertaken by the National Autistic Society on the preferences of autistic people, their families and professionals. Click here to access the National Autistic Society Guide.
- ‘Neurodiversity’ refers to the natural and diverse variation of human minds, and the acknowledgment that all minds and bodies have equal value. Early years specialist Kerry Murphy has developed a ‘Neurodiversity & Anti-Ableism Reflection Tool’, and an introduction to it which helps support reframing the way we speak about children and young people. Click here to learn more about the Neurodiversity & Anti-Ableism Reflection Tool
- ‘Care-experienced young people’ or ‘young people with care experience’ should be used instead of the now outdated term 'looked after children'. Click here for more guidance on writing about the care-system from the Each & Every Child Toolkit.
- ‘Distressed behaviour’ is preferred instead of 'challenging', 'poor' or 'disruptive' behaviour.
- Avoid making gender assumptions and reduce your use of gendered language, or use language which includes the full spectrum of gender identities, where possible. Click here to access the Scottish Trans Alliance guide on including non-binary people
- Avoid using the expression 'living with' when referring to a life-long condition.
- ‘Ethnic minorities’ can be used to refer to ethnic groups that are not White Scottish or White British. Wherever possible specific, relevant ethnic groups should be referred to. The term 'non-white' should not be used. Ethnic minorities include white minorities, such as Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller groups. Click here for more guidance from the UK Government.
In addition to these language considerations, we also recommend you follow guidance to make sure that your presentation follows digital accessibility guidelines so that text is clear and easy to read and any video content you are sharing also includes subtitles. You can find out more about digital accessibility at these links:
- Click here for guidance from Scottish Government
- Click here for the University of Glasgow’s guide to creating accessible information
We welcome recommendations from our trainers on how we can improve our inclusive language guidance. We are also happy to answer any questions or provide feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org