400 words


Please note: All communication in this course will be conducted using Person- First language. You may
notice that some of the articles and resources used do not use this language, and in some instances, this
may be purposeful. However, in your assignments and activities for the course, it is essential that you begin
practicing using Person-First language. Point deductions will be made beginning in Week 2 of the course
for failure to use Person-First language. As the course proceeds, you will be introduced to the reasoning
behind Person-First, but at this time, I wanted to introduce you to the overview of disability etiquette and
Person-First language, so that you may begin incorporating this style of communication into your work for
the course. I hope you’ll incorporate it into the rest of your lives as well. Following are some examples of
the types of language to use and to avoid when communicating with and about people with disabilities.

Person with a disability / has a disability

People with disabilities / have disabilities

The disabled / the handicapped, invalids, patients,

crippled, deformed, defective

People without disabilities typical person Normal, healthy, able-bodied

Wheelchair user / uses a wheelchair Wheelchair-bound / confined to a wheelchair

Congenital disability / birth anomaly Birth defect / affliction

Has cerebral palsy (CP) or other condition A victim of cerebral palsy

Has had polio / experienced polio has a disability as

a result of polio

Suffers from polio / afflicted with polio post-polios

(as a noun referring to people)

People who have an intellectual/developmental


Person with an intellectual or developmental

disability or a person with IDD


The mentally retarded / mentally deficient

A retardate / a retard

A feeble-minded person

Child with a developmental delay person with a

developmental disability


Person with Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21 Downs kids/The Downs person / Mongoloid

(never)/Downs Syndrome (that is just incorrect)

Person who has epilepsy people with seizure

disorders seizure / epileptic episode or event

The epileptic (to describe a person) the epileptics

Fits / epileptic fits

People who have mental illnesses or person with a

mental or emotional disorder

The mentally ill, crazy, psycho, mental case

People who are blind / visually impaired

Person who is hard of hearing person who is deaf

The deaf (deafness is a cultural phenomenon and

should be capitalized in those instances.)

The blind

The hearing impaired (translates as “broken

hearing” in sign language) deaf-mute

Deaf and dumb

Speech or communication disability Tongue-tied, mute

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