The terms disability and disabled are generally preferred over handicap or crippled. More "positive" labels, such as physically challenged and differently abled, may occasionally be appropriate, although many people with disabilities find such euphemisms offensively trivializing. When referring to individuals with specific disabilities, first be sure that noting the disability is necessary. If it is, refer to it in a way that does not define the person by the disability. If it is not, do not mention it at all.
Debbie Stevens, a blind seventh grader at Riverview Junior High, won third prize in the
county public-speaking competition.
Debbie Stevens, a seventh grader at Riverview Junior High, won third prize in the county
Paraplegic James Alton competes in marathons with other crippled racers who train in
James Alton, an attorney whose legs were paralyzed in an automobile accident, competes
in marathons with other disabled racers who train in wheelchairs.
In general, use terminology that treats a disability or an illness neutrally rather than negatively.
|cancer victim, AIDS victim||cancer patient, person with AIDS|
|suffers from diabetes||is diabetic|
|confined/bound to a wheelchair||uses a wheelchair|
|dying of cancer||living with cancer|