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 with disabilities instead of the handicapped
    an adult who has a disability instead of the disabled
    a child with a disability
    a person

-  people/individuals without disabilities instead of normal people/healthy individuals
    typical kids instead of atypical kids

-  people with mental retardation instead of the mentally retarded; retarded people
    he/she has a cognitive impairment instead of he/she is retarded; the retarded
    a person who has Down syndrome instead of he/shes a Downs kid; a Mongoloid; a Mongol

-  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 an emotional disability instead of is insane; crazy; demented; psycho
    with a psychiatric illness/disability instead of a maniac; lunatic

-  a person who has a learning disability instead of he/she is learning disabled

-  a person who is deaf instead of the deaf
    he/she has a hearing impairment/loss
    a man/woman who is hard of hearing

-  person who is deaf and cannot speak instead of is deaf and dumb
    who has a speech disorder instead of mute
    uses a communication device
    uses synthetic speech

-  a person who is blind instead of the blind
    a person who has a visual impairment
    man/woman who has low vision

-  a person who has epilepsy instead of an epileptic
    people with a seizure disorder instead of a victim of epilepsy

-  a person who uses a wheelchair instead of a person who is wheelchair bound
    people who have a mobility impairment instead of a person who is confined to a wheelchair
    a person who walks with crutches instead of a cripple

-  a person who has quadriplegia instead of a quadriplegic
    people with paraplegia instead of the paraplegic

-  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.
    reserved parking for people with disabilities instead of handicapped parking

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.