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In all instances, one’s abilities form only one part of their humanity. An ability/disability should only be mentioned if it is pertinent. If it is important to include, care must be taken to ensure use of neutral terminology.

Always put the person first, and where possible, use the word with or has:

  • A person with epilepsy, not an epileptic.
  • A person who is deaf.

Avoid descriptions that generalize or group people (such as: the blind).

Find an alternative word to the term impaired, which carries a connotation of self-infliction (as in an impaired driver):

  • A person with hearing loss, not a person who is hearing-impaired.

Steer clear of negative or value-laden references that imply stigma, such as afflicted with, suffer, victim, confined to, crippling:

  • A person who uses a wheelchair, not a person confined to a wheelchair nor someone who is wheelchair-bound.
  • A person who suffered a stroke, not a stroke victim (connotes helplessness).
  • Mental illness, not mentally disturbed.
  • Someone with a mental illness, not someone who suffers from a mental illness.
  • Epileptic seizure, not an epileptic fit.