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Person-First Language

The Office of Disability Services believes that we should acknowledge the person first rather than their disability. We are advocates for promoting inclusivity and this is the first step in doing so. Please note this list is not comprehensive.

Empowering language Stigmatizing language
Person with a disability Disabled person, crippled, abnormal, crip
Person with mental or physical disability Poor, pitiful, disabled victim, deformed, invalid
Person without disabilities Normal, whole, complete
Person who uses crutches or cane or other mobility device Cripple, gimp
Person who has.... Person who experienced… Person with Victim of, suffers from, afflicted with, stricken with
Person who uses a wheelchair, wheelchair user, Person who has a mobility device Wheelchair bound, confined to a wheelchair, wheelchair victim
Person who has a disability, resulting from or caused by Invalid, victim , afflicted with
Person with learning disabilities Retard, lazy, stupid
Person with a developmental disability Developmentally disabled person
Person with a cognitive disability Retard, mentally retarded person, feebleminded, mentally deficient, idiot, defective, imbecile, defective
Person who is blind, person with a visual impairment Blink, blur, squint, bluff
Person who has had a stroke Stroke victim, suffered from a stroke
Person who has epilepsy The epileptic
Person who is deaf or hard of hearing; hard of hearing; deaf Deaf mute, deaf and dumb, hearing disabled, communicatively impaired, the deaf
A person with autism Autistic
A person with a mental illness, a person who has an emotional disability The mentally ill, the emotional disturbed, insane, crazy, lunatic, psycho, demented, a maniac,
A person with a congenital disability A person has birth defect
Accessible buses, bathrooms, reserved parking for people with disabilities Handicapped buses, bathrooms, hotel rooms, handicapped parking
Person with a speech disorder, uses a communication device, uses synthetic speech Dumb mute
A person is a small or of short stature A dwarf or midget
A person who has quadriplegia, people with paraplegia Quadriplegic, paraplegic

To test your knowledge on terminology please take this Disability Terminology Quiz!