Describing People with Disabilities
(Back side of form) (See front side)
People First Language recognizes that individuals with disabilities are first and foremost people. It emphasizes each persons value, individuality, dignity and capabilities. The following examples provide guidance on what terms to use and which ones are inappropriate when talking or writing about people with disabilities.
People First Language to Use Instead of Labels that Stereotype and Devalue
- people/individuals without
disabilities instead of normal
- people with mental retardation
instead of the mentally retarded;
- a person who has autism instead of the autistic
- people with a mental illness instead
of the mentally ill; the emotionally disturbed
- a person who has a learning disability instead of he/she is learning disabled
- a person who is deaf instead
of the deaf
- person who is deaf and cannot
speak instead of is deaf and
- a person who is blind instead
of the blind
- a person who has epilepsy instead
of an epileptic
- a person who uses a wheelchair
instead of a person who is
- a person who has quadriplegia instead
of a quadriplegic
- he/she is of small or short stature instead of a dwarf or midget
- he/she has a congenital disability instead of he/she has a birth defect
- accessible buses, bathrooms, etc.
instead of handicapped buses,
bathrooms, hotel rooms, etc.
Prepared by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, 4900 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78751-2399; 512-424-4092 voice; 512-424-4099 TDD; 512-424-4097 fax; 1-800-262-0334 toll-free in Texas.
All around edge of front side of form it reads: What Do You Call People with Disabilities? Men, women, boys, girls, students, mom, Sue's brother, Mr. Smith, Rosita, a neighbor, employer, coworker, customer, chef, teacher, scientist, athlete, adults, children tourists, retirees, actors, comedians, musicians, blondes, brunettes, SCUBA divers, computer operators, individuals, members, leaders, people, voters, Texans, friends or any other word you would use for a person.