Words Matter

February 15, 2017
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.

accessible parking/accommodations handicapped accessible
children with disabilities special children
Individual without a disability able-bodied; normal; whole
individual with a physical disability crippled, handicapped; deformed; defective
individual with a spinal cord injury quadriplegic; paraplegic; incapacitated
individual with multiple sclerosis (MS) person who suffers from MS
individual who uses a wheelchair wheelchair-bound/confined to a wheelchair
individual who is blind or has low vision the blind
individual who is deaf or hard of hearing the deaf; deaf and dumb; mute; hearing impaired
individual with burns burn victim; disfigured
individual of short stature dwarf or midget
individual who had a stroke stroke victim/suffered from a stroke
individual with a cleft lip/cleft palate hare lip
Individual with a congenital disability deformed/person with birth defect
individual with epilepsy or a seizure disorder epileptic; spastic; person who has "fits" or "attacks"
Individual living with HIV or AIDS HIV or AIDS victim
individual with a learning disability slow learner; retarded; stupid
Individual with an intellectual disability slow; retarded; dim-witted
Individual with dyslexia dyslexic
Individual with a psychiatric disability or with a mental health diagnosis crazy; maniac; lunatic; demented; schizo; psycho; feeble-minded