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Text for poster: "Your Words, Our Image"

You are in a unique position to shape the public image of people with disabilities. By putting the person first and using these suggested words, you can convey a positive, objective view of an individual instead of a negative, insensitive image.

Do say

Don’t say


Differently abled, challenged

People with disabilities

The disabled, handicapped

Person with spinal cord injury


Person with autism, on the autism spectrum


Person with Down syndrome


Person of short stature

Midget, dwarf

Uses a wheelchair, wheelchair user

Confined to a wheelchair, wheelchair-bound

Has a learning disability

Slow learner

Has chemical or environmental sensitivities


Has a brain injury

Brain damaged

Blind, low vision

Visually handicapped, blind as a bat

Deaf, hard of hearing

Deaf-mute, deaf and dumb

Intellectual disability

Retarded, mental retardation

Amputee, has limb loss

Gimp, lame

Congenital disability

Birth defect

Burn survivor

Burn victim

Post-polio syndrome

Suffers from polio

Service animal or dog

Seeing eye dog

Psychiatric disability, mental illness

Crazy, psycho, schizo

How should I describe you or your disability?

What happened to you?

Accessible parking or restroom

Handicapped parking, disabled restroom

Want more information?

Download our brochure Guidelines: How to Write and Report about People with Disabilities.

©2013 Eighth Edition

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