Members of the media are encouraged to use respectful, People-First Language when writing about people with developmental disabilities. People-First Language uses words that reflect awareness, dignity and a positive attitude about people with disabilities. Emphasis is placed on the person first, rather than the disability. Example: “John is a writer who has a disability,” rather than “John is a disabled writer.” By using people-first language, we gently create awareness that the focus/subject is the person, thereby demonstrating respect toward that person. After the initial people-first reference in a story, it is acceptable to use the term disabled person thereafter.
People-first language should be used by reporters, headline writers and editors as they produce copy, headlines and photo captions.
More information is available in our People-First Language Stylesheet. Check out the Resources page for more information and links to our affiliate organizations.