Back to disabled community

How to refer to the Disabled community at Hippo

When talking about one member

Ask that person what they call themselves.


While there are common ways for people to refer to groups every person is different and how they see themselves is different.

When introducing the community

“People who are chronically ill, disabled, D/deaf, neurodivergent or have a mental health condition.”

  • Chronically ill refers to people with long term illness, so things like: Chronic fatigue (ME/CFS), Long COVID, Diabetes, Cancer.
  • D/deaf refers to inclusion of Hard of Hearing people and the Deaf community.
  • Mental health condition refers to things like: Depression, Anxiety.
  • Neurodivergent refers to things like: ADHD, Autism, Tourettes etc.

Try to:

  • Focus on lived experience over requiring diagnosis.
  • Avoid excluding some groups, e.g. disabled and neurodivergent, if too long, use ‘disabled’.


  • Helps people see themselves - not everyone calls themself ‘disabled’.
  • We make it clear who is welcome without making people figure it out themselves.
  • Diagnosis can be expensive, time consuming, and not needed for some people. We trust that people know what their needs are and support them where they’re at.

When talking about the community

Use “Disabled Hippos”, “Disabled community at Hippo” or #disabled-hippos.

Use this when:

  • you’ve already introduced the community.
  • you do not have time or it’s inappropriate to give the expanded version.


We are pro-disability, while not everyone calls themselves ‘disabled’, it avoids things like “differently abled”, “special” which can erase disability.

Some distance from disability is down to ableism which we can challenge as a group.

Back to top