68421 Hammond Road
St. Clairsville, OH 43950

1 740 695 0407


PF Language Tips

Different groups object to different phrases for varying reasons. Even among people with disabilities and their families, different terms are used and accepted. It is best to ask the person you are speaking or writing about which words or phrases are acceptable to them personally.

When writing or speaking about people with disabilities, it is preferable to emphasize abilities rather than limitations, focusing on a person's accomplishments, creative talents or skills.

It is not preferable to avoid mentioning a person's disability or describing the impact it has had on the person's life. It is preferable to refer to the person and the disability he or she happens to have respectfully and accurately.

Quick Reference Guide


Congenital disability
uses a wheelchair
has a disability
Deaf, hard of hearing
Down syndrome
Person of short stature
People with disabilities
Person with epilepsy
Person with disabilities
Brain injury
Accessible parking
Typical, typically developing
Physical disability
Communicates with eyes/device    

birth defect
wheelchair bound
hearing impaired
Mongoloid, Downs
dwarf, midget
retarded, crippled, afflicted
client, consumer
brain damaged
handicapped parking
normal, healthy
victim, afflicted, suffers from

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