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Consumer Advisory Council|Wyoming Institute for Disabilities

Disability Awareness

People First Language

People first language focuses on the person first, the disability last. It describes what the person HAS, not what he or she IS. People with disabilities do not "suffer from," "are afflicted with," or "are victims of" anything. Nor is anyone wheelchair-bound, there are people who use wheelchairs who are free to go wherever they want. Further, children are not born with birth defects, they are born with congenital disabilities.

Examples of People First Language


 Instead of...

Person with a disability

Disabled person

People with intellectual disability

The mentally retarded

A boy/girl with Down Syndrome

A Downs kid

Person who uses a wheelchair

Wheelchair bound

People with disabilities

The handicapped

A man who walks with crutches

A crippled man

Person who is blind

The blind person

People who have epilepsy

An epileptic

Person who has autism

An autistic

Typical people

Normal people

Person with a learning disability

A slow learner

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