Disability Portrayal Issues/Media

A march in celebration of the ADA 25th Anniversary

July 26, 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The 9th edition of Guidelines: How to Write about People with Disabilities celebrates this landmark legislation and reaffirms our commitment to its principles. 

First published in 1984, the Guidelines brochure has become a classic on person-first language. It reflects input from more than 100 national disability groups. Portions of the recommendations have been adopted by the Associated Press Stylebook, the American Psychological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

the front cover of the 9th edition

Download a PDF or view the Guidelines as a webpage

the guidelines poster

The companion poster highlights selected entries from the Guidelines. Download a PDF or view it as a webpage

The 9th edition is also available in Spanish as a PDF or webpage

The 8th edition of the Guidelines is still available in Korean

Order form for printed copies: Download (PDF) | HTML


 "A Bolt of Lightning" Webinar - Disability Awareness for Media Professionals:
RTC/IL Director Glen White speaks about person-first language and the evolution of the center's Guidelines for Reporting and Writing About People with Disabilities as part of a webinar on disability awareness for media professionals in Mississippi. “A Bolt of Lightning” is archived in four captioned segments on YouTube. The presentation was developed and hosted by Alma Ellis at the University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies.

Effective and Efficient Research Translation for General Audiences: Literature Review and Recommendations
More than 50 resources were used to produce this synthesis of best practices used in scientific reporting and effective mass audience outreach. Author: C. Higgins

How-To Guide: Condensing and Translating “Researchese” for the General Public
This manual offers writing tips to package research findings for maximum audience impact and includes numerous examples. Author: C. Higgins

Saying the Right Things and Saying Things Right
Barriers and solutions in reaching general audiences to present research results are discussed in this webcast. Presenters: J. Budde and C. Higgins

"Sticks and Stones” . . . and Words CAN Hurt: Eliminating Handicapping Language
Words — both positive and negative — used in reference to people with disabilities are discussed in this report. Authors: A. Darrow and G. White

Writing for the Non-Researchers: Sharing Your Findings With a Larger Audience
This brief publication summarizes best practices of science journalism.

Back to school COVID info for parents and teachers: https://t.co/XIlwJ8CCBc

NEW! Guidelines en Español

A Spanish version of the Guidelines is now available!

Start a conversation about disability. Share the brochure and poster with colleagues, family and friends!


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