Words Matter

Words Matter

The following list depicts phrases and terms that are generally considered appropriate, as well as terms and phrases to avoid using. 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.

PREFERREDAVOID
accessible parking/accommodationshandicapped accessible
children with disabilitiesspecial children
Individual without a disabilityable-bodied; normal; whole
individual with a physical disabilitycrippled, handicapped; deformed; defective
individual with a spinal cord injuryquadriplegic; paraplegic; incapacitated
individual with multiple sclerosis (MS)person who suffers from MS
individual who uses a wheelchairwheelchair-bound/confined to a wheelchair
individual who is blind or has low visionthe blind
individual who is deaf or hard of hearingthe deaf; deaf and dumb; mute; hearing impaired
individual with burnsburn victim; disfigured
individual of short staturedwarf or midget
individual who had a strokestroke victim/suffered from a stroke
individual with a cleft lip/cleft palatehare lip
Individual with a congenital disabilitydeformed/person with birth defect
individual with epilepsy or a seizure disorderepileptic; spastic; person who has "fits" or "attacks"
Individual living with HIV or AIDSHIV or AIDS victim
individual with a learning disabilityslow learner; retarded; stupid
Individual with an intellectual disabilityslow; retarded; dim-witted
Individual with dyslexiadyslexic
Individual with a psychiatric disability or with a mental health diagnosiscrazy; maniac; lunatic; demented; schizo; psycho; feeble-minded