Choose inclusive language

When writing about people with disabilities or about accessibility, be mindful about using unintentionally biased language that may cause harm.

Write thoughtfully about disability

Don't use euphemisms or patronizing terms:

  • Avoid describing people without disabilities as normal or healthy.
  • Better: nondisabled person, sighted person, hearing person, person without disabilities, neurotypical person.

  • Avoid terms that reflect or project feelings and judgements about a person's disability, such as victim of, suffering from, wheelchair-bound.

  • Better: experiencing, living with, uses a wheelchair

Person-first and identity-first language

When writing about accessibility and people with disabilities, be sure to center the person or community, and avoid terms that remove personhood.

  • Avoid language like the disabled
  • Better: people with disabilities

Note: While person-first language is generally preferred (person with a cognitive impairment, person with low vision), some people prefer identity-first language; for example, this preference is common in Deaf and neurodivergent communities (Deaf person, neurodivergent person).

Before writing about a community, take time to educate yourself about how the community prefers to be identified and described. Some helpful resources include the following:

Next unit: Add accessible visuals to writing