How to report on disability

How we talk and write can improve attitudes to disability and disabled people, challenge stereotypes, and help to create a fairer society. We use the social model of disability to talk about our work and the lives of disabled people.

Words to use when talking about or reporting on disability

There are some words that many disabled people find hurtful or harsh because they:

  • suggest disabled people are helpless
  • are pitying
  • are often used abusively.

Here are some tips on language that most people prefer:

Don't say You could say

Cripple
The disabled
Sufferer

Disabled person
Person with a disability

Able-bodied
Normal person

Non-disabled person
The deaf

Deaf person
Hard of hearing person

The blind

Blind person
Visually impaired person

Midget

Person with restricted growth
Person of shorter stature

Retard
Slow
Simple
Person with a learning disability

Downs kid
Downs sufferer

Person with Down syndrome

Mental patient
Psycho
Schizo
Mental

Person with a mental health problem

Wheelchair-bound
Confined to a wheelchair

A wheelchair user

 

 

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