Independent Living Skills, NWW Committee Residents

Services : What Is People First Language?

"People First" language emphasizes the person, not the disability. Having a disability is only one aspect of a person, and every person wants to be recognized for all the qualities and attributes he may possess rather than be summarized by a word or phrase that refers only to his disability. "People First" language shows respect for the person and acknowledges that people with disabilities have strengths, too. Consequently, "People First" language doesn't mention the person's disability unless it is relevant to the situation.

  "People First" Language    Not "People First" Language 
I work with people who have disabilities. I work with the disabled.
She has diabetes. She's a diabetic.
He uses a wheelchair. He's confined to a wheelchair.
There's my next-door neighbor. There's my autistic neighbor.

The following are four excellent documents on "People First" language that you may wish to read: