Respectful Language

The words you use to describe people living with intellectual disability should be respectful and inclusive. You may not be aware that the language you use is offensive, hurtful or insensitive.

Here are some of the right and wrong ways of talking about a person with a disability:

Acceptable Not Acceptable

Person living with intellectual disability

Person with a disability

Intellectually disabled

Disabled

Defect, deformity

Mentally handicapped

Retarded

Invalid

Intellectually challenged

Special needs

Spastic
Person without a disability Normal person
Visually impaired Blind
Uses a wheelchair Confined to a wheelchair
Hearing impaired Deaf
Physical disability

Crippled

Handicapped

Physically challenged

Spastic

Specially needs
Non-verbal Dumb
Seizure

Fit

Attack

Spell

Has Down syndrome

Mongoloid

Mongol

Downsy