Using Person First Language

When speaking to or about a person with a disability, it is important to focus on the person first, and secondarily on their disability. The following are several common ways to accomplish this:

Instead of using: Crippled with, suffering from, or afflicted with
Substitute: Has, with

Instead of using: Handicap
Substitute: Disability

Instead of using: Handicapped person
Substitute: Person with a disability, Individual with a disability

Instead of using: Normal, healthy, able-bodied
Substitute: Nondisabled

Instead of using: Disease, defect
Substitute: Condition

Instead of using: Confined to a wheelchair
Substitute: Wheelchair user, uses a wheelchair


Appendix F: State governors committee on employment of people with disabilities. (n.d.). VII. Interacting with people with disabilities. Retrieved December 2002 from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees website: http://www.afscme.org/publications/3118.cfm