People First

Language is powerful. The words we choose to talk about people with disabilities can spread awareness and enlightenment or can perpetuate prejudice and misconception. Today, most Americans with disabilities prefer to be referenced using "people first" language that respects the dignity of the
individual.

Use words with dignity

  • Person with a disability
  • People with disabilities
  • Person who is blind
  • Individual who is deaf
  • Person with cerebral palsy
  • Person who had polio
  • Person with intellectual and developmental disability
  • Caused by "…"
  • Disabled since birth
  • Born with "…"
  • Person who is deaf
  • Person who is hard of hearing
  • The Deaf and hard of hearing
  • Person who uses a wheelchair
  • Person in a wheelchair
  • Person who walks with crutches
  • Non-disabled
  • Person without a disability

Do Not Use

  • The handicapped
  • Crippled with "..."
  • Victim of "…"
  • Spastic
  • Patient (except in medical context)
  • Invalid
  • Stricken with "…"
  • Sightless
  • Afflicted by "…"
  • Incapacitated
  • Deformed
  • Birth defect
  • Deaf and dumb
  • Deaf mute
  • Confined to a wheelchair
  • Wheelchair-bound
  • Restricted to a wheelchair
  • Lame
  • Normal person (acceptable only for reporting statistics)