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Illustration showing use of inclusive language with persons with disabilities

Please note that terms in the same cell should not be considered as synonyms. They are grouped together by category.

Recommended language

Language to be avoided

person with disability
person with [type of impairment]
persons with disabilities
people with disabilities (only in Easy Read documents, informal text and oral speech)

disabled person, handicapped, person with special needs, handicapable, atypical, person living with a disability, differently abled, people of all abilities, people of determination, person living with a disability

person without disability
the rest of the population

normal, healthy, able-bodied, typical, whole, of sound body/mind

have [disability/impairment/condition]

suffer from, afflicted by, stricken by, troubled with

person with an intellectual disability
person with an intellectual impairment

retarded, simple, slow, afflicted, brain-damaged, intellectually challenged, subnormal, of unsound mind, feeble-minded, mentally handicapped

person with a psychosocial disability

insane, crazy, maniac, psycho, hypersensitive, lunatic, demented, panicked, agitated, mentally deranged, mentally ill

deaf person
person who is deaf
person with a hearing disability
person with a hearing impairment
person with hearing loss
hard-of-hearing person
deafblind person

the deaf, hearing impaired, deaf and dumb, deaf and mute

blind person
person who is blind
person with a vision/visual disability
person with a vision/visual impairment
person with low vision
deafblind person

the blind, partially-sighted

person with a physical disability
person with a physical impairment

crippled, invalid, deformed, lame, handicapped, physically challenged, person with physical limitations, limp

wheelchair user
person who uses a wheelchair
person with a mobility disability
person with a mobility impairment
person using a mobility device

confined/restricted to a wheelchair

person of short stature
little person
person with achondroplasia (only if the person has this condition)

midget, dwarf, stunted

person with Down syndrome
person with trisomy-21

mongoloid, special person, Down

person with albinism


person who uses a communication device
person who uses an alternative method of communication

non-verbal, can't talk

accessible parking
parking reserved for persons with disabilities
accessible bathroom

disabled/handicapped parking
handicapped bathroom