Language that avoids defining a person in term of his or her disability. In most cases, this entails placing the reference to the disability after a reference to a person, as in a person with a disability rather than the disabled person. The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention offers an easy-to-follow guide on people-first language.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association acknowledges that utilizing people-first language sometimes can result in awkward sentence structuring. As such, the organization states that “deviations from people-first language should be allowed in cases when the only alternative is awkward sentence structure.”
Use people-first language whenever possible.
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