- Avoid stereotypical or stigmatising depiction of people with a disability.
- Avoid phrases and words that demean individuals with disabilities.
- Promote the ‘people first’ concept.
- People with disabilities are not suffering from, victims of or afflicted by their disability.
- They are not overcoming their disabilities, but the barriers that the rest of society puts in front of them.
- People with disabilities should no be portrayed as courageous or tortured, but rather as individuals who find alternative means to accomplish everyday activities.
Language that appropriately describes people with a disability should always be used, as follows:
Yes – People with a disability, person with a disability
No – The handicapped, Invalid, The disabled, Abnormal, subnormal, defective, deformed, backward
Yes – People who are Deaf or hard of hearing
No – The hearing impaired / deaf-mute
Yes – People who are blind, People who are vision impaired or People who are have low vision
No – The blind, the sightless, people with vision impairment
Yes – People who use a wheelchair, wheelchair user
No – Those confined to wheelchairs, wheelchair bound
Yes – People with a mobility impairment, people with limited mobility
No – The crippled, The lame
Yes – Short statured people
No – dwarfs, midgets, little people
Yes – People with an intellectual disability
No – The retarded, the mentally deficient, Mentally retarded, defective, feeble minded
Yes – People with mental health issues, Person with a psychiatric disability
No – The insane, mental patient, mentally diseased, neurotic, psycho, psychotic, schizophrenic, unsound mind
Yes – People with a learning disability
No – The retarded / dyslexic (as a generic)
Yes – People living with HIV and AIDS
No – AIDS or HIV sufferers