Speaking In Person-First Language What & Why
Person First Language shows respect to people living with disabilities. Person First Language is important because it honors the fact a person is not defined by the label of their diagnosis. We ask that you please practice using Person First Language when discussing persons with disabilities both at Main Stay and in your everyday life. It is important that all people are regarded with equal respect, regardless of ability or diagnosis.
Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.”
Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”
Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask. The following are considered outdated terms:
Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “person who uses a wheelchair” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s typically liberating, not confining. The word “challenged” is particularly common but is not favored by individuals with disabilities.
Think of it in terms of we all have our own challenges, but wouldn’t like the world to label us by them. With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.”