Person-First Language


Person-first language puts the word “person” before the disability-related word, as in “people with disabilities.”


Person-first language puts the word “person” before the disability-related word in a phrase. People who use person-first language believe that this emphasizes that disabled people are people rather than a label.

Some communities that use person-first language are most communities of people with intellectual disabilities, many communities of people with mental health and psychiatric disabilities, and communities of people with chronic health conditions. It is considered standard for journalists and policy writers to use “people with disabilities,” though some people might identify differently. Specific people might refer to themselves differently than most members of their communities, so it is a good idea to ask a person how they identify if you are writing about them or introducing them.

-List of related media/links

-List of concrete examples

  • Usage examples: “Person with Down syndrome”, “Person with an intellectual disability”, “People with intellectual or developmental disabilities”.
  • Case example: Person-first language is often required by academic journals. The APA guidelines for reducing bias recommend using person-first language, such as using “person with a disability” instead of “disabled person” or “person with autism” instead of “autistic person.”

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