610-770-9781 ext. 123 · accesscheck@lvcil.org

Person-First Language

Person-First Language is used to speak appropriately and respectfully about an individual with a disability. Person-First Language emphasizes the person not the disability.  An example is saying "a person with a disability" instead of "disabled person".  A person's disability does not define who they are.

Say This…                                                         

Not This


A person who uses a wheelchair

A person who is a wheelchair user

Wheelchair bound

Confined to a wheelchair



A person with hearing loss

A person who is deaf/hearing impaired

Suffers with a hearing loss

A deaf person



A person who is blind/visually impaired

A blind person



A person who is unable to speak

A person who is non-verbal

Dumb, mute

Deaf and dumb



A person who had polio

A person who has multiple sclerosis

A person with muscular dystrophy

A person with cerebral palsy

A person with epilepsy

A person with a seizure disorder

A person with an intellectual disability

A person with a learning disability

Victim of polio

Suffers from multiple sclerosis

Stricken by muscular dystrophy

A cripple, spastic

An epileptic

A spastic

Retarded, retard

Slow learner



Persons with disabilities

Persons who have disabilities

The handicapped, afflicted

Poor unfortunates, the disabled



Person without a disability

Normal, healthy, able-bodied



Children with disabilities

Special or exceptional children



Has a physical disability


Has a mental disorder

Has Down’s syndrome

Crippled, lame, deformed, physically challenged

Crazy, insane, psycho




A disability

A seizure

A condition

A handicap, handicapped

A fit

A disease (Most disabilities are conditions, even if originally caused by diseases)

A congenital disability

Successful, productive

Added responsibility

A birth defect

Courageous, heroic

Drain, burden


Have questions or comments?  Want to schedule Sensitivity or other ADA trainings at your location or online? 

Click here or contact Brian Rogers at 610-770-9781 EXT 123.



Funding for this site was provided by:

Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council
Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living