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Disability Terminology Etiquette
By Janine Diana, VP of People & Culture, EAA Lifetime 1082064
Individuals with disabilities are people. Language we use to describe someone usually creates an attitude. Just as some famous four-letters words are offensive, so are some words used in referring to people with disabilities. These terms should be avoided when speaking to or about people with disabilities:
- Cerebral palsied
- Confined to a wheelchair
- Deaf and dumb or deaf mute
- Hearing impaired
Understanding the proper terminology and how to address people with disabilities is important to not offend. Hint: Always remember the person comes before the disability. For example, “a person with MS,” or “Jane, who has cerebral palsy,” etc.
A person who is:
- Blind, visually impaired
- Deaf, hard of hearing
- Physically disabled
A person who has:
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- A women who uses a wheelchair
- A person with a spinal cord injury
- An employee with arthritis
- A child who uses a communication device
- A person with a mental illness
Keep this as a reference to review. It can make a difference when interacting with people with disabilities.