These guidelines for writing about individuals with disabilities make suggestions for using language in a more sensitive manner that avoids reducing individuals to a series of labels, symptoms, or medical terms. Advocating for media representatives to be aware of how they use language regarding individuals with disabilities and their families does not suppress freedom of speech. Rather, these suggestions are intended to guide media representatives about how words really do make a difference.
For a list that depicts phrases and terms that are generally considered appropriate, as well as terms and phrases to avoid using, please refer to our Word Matter resource. Please keep in mind that language is constantly evolving and not everyone has the same preference, so the best guideline when referring to people is to ASK.