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People with disabilities prefer that you focus on their abilities, not
their disabilities. The term "Handicapped" is falling into disuse and
should be avoided. The terms " able- bodied, "physically challenged, "and
"differently abled," are also discouraged. The following are some
Do not use the article THE with an
adjective to describe people with
NOT the deaf
NOT the visually impaired.
The preferred usage, "people with disabilities," stresses the essential
humanity of individuals and avoids objectification. Alternatively, the
term "disabled people" is acceptable, but note that this term still
defines people as disabled first, and people second.
USE people who are deaf
USE people who are visually impaired
If it is appropriate to refer to a person's disability, choose the correct
terminology for the specific disability.
People who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, mentally
retarded, physically disabled. People with or who have cerebral palsy;
downs syndrome; mental illness; paraplegia; quadriplegia; partial hearing
loss; seizure disorder; specific learning disability; speech impairment.
Be careful not to imply that people with
disabilities are to be pitied, feared, or
ignored, or that they are somehow more
heroic, courageous, patient or "special"
than others. Do not use the term "normal"
NOT Chris held her own while swimming with normal children.
USE Chris qualified for her "Swimmer" certificate.
A person in a wheelchair is a "wheelchair user" or "uses a wheelchair".
Avoid terms that define the disability as a limitation.
Do not use the terms "victim" or
"sufferer" to refer to a person who has
had a disease or disability. This term
dehumanizes the person and emphasizes
NOT victim of AIDS or AIDS sufferer
USE person with HIV/AIDS
NOT Polio victim
USE had polio