Items starting with W
Consider these guidelines when communicating with or about disabled people:
- The word ‘disabled’ is a description not a group of people. Use ‘disabled people’ not ‘the disabled’ as the collective term.
- However, many deaf people whose first language is BSL consider themselves part of ‘the deaf community’ – they may describe themselves as ‘Deaf’, with a capital D, to emphasise their deaf identity.
Words to use and avoid
Avoid passive, victim words. Use language that respects disabled people as active individuals with control over their own lives.
|(the) handicapped, (the) disabled||disabled (people)|
|afflicted by, suffers from, victim of||has [name of condition or impairment]|
|confined to a wheelchair, wheelchair-bound||wheelchair user|
|mentally handicapped, mentally defective, retarded, subnormal||with a learning disability (singular) with learning disabilities (plural)|
|cripple, invalid||disabled person|
|spastic||person with cerebral palsy|
|mental patient, insane, mad||person with a mental health condition|
|deaf and dumb; deaf mute||deaf, user of British Sign Language (BSL), person with a hearing impairment|
|the blind||people with visual impairments; blind people; blind and partially sighted people|
|an epileptic, diabetic, depressive, and so on||person with epilepsy, diabetes, depression or someone who has epilepsy, diabetes, depression|
|dwarf; midget||someone with restricted growth or short stature|
|fits, spells, attacks||seizures|