People First Language
What is people first language?
People First Language (PFL) was developed to respectfully speak about people with disabilities. The number one focus of PFL is putting the
person before his/her disability because the disability is only a small part of the whole person. PFL highlights a person’s strengths, abilities
and potential to succeed instead of labeling the individual or confining the person to an established stereotype.
Remember: concentrate on the person, not the disability!
|Children (or people) with disabilities||the disabled, the handicapped|
|He has a disability||he’s disabled; he’s handicapped|
|She has a cognitive disability||my daughter is retarded|
|People with cognitive disabilities||the (mentally) retarded|
|She has Down syndrome||she’s Down’s; she’s mongoloid|
|My son has autism||my son is autistic|
|He has a learning disability||he’s learning disabled; he’s LD|
|She has a physical disability||she’s a quadriplegic or a cripple|
|My son has a physical disability||my son is disabled|
|She is of short stature||she’s a dwarf|
|She has an emotional disability||she’s emotionally disturbed|
|He uses a wheelchair (or mobility chair)||he’s confined to a wheelchair he’s wheelchair bound|
|Typical children; kids without disabilities||normal kids or healthy kids|
|He receives special ed services||he’s in special ed|
|He needs behavior supports||he has behavior problems|
|He has a brain injury||He’s brain damaged|
|Accessible parking/bathroom||handicapped parking/bathroom|
|She needs… She uses…||she has a problem with… she can’t|