It’s Perfectly OK To Call A Disabled Person ‘Disabled,’ And Here’s Why

Stay clear of cutesy euphemisms like “handicapable” or “differently-abled.” Nondisabled people have taken to the terms in recent years, but they’re patronizing and tend to reinforce stereotypes about disabilities, said Amy Kavanagh, a visually impaired activist. 
“Disability is not a bad word. I was born visually impaired and was made to feel like my disability was shameful for most of my adult life,” Kavanagh said. “These kind of euphemisms made me feel like my disability was too difficult for nondisabled people to manage — that I had to minimize it and hide it for fear of causing discomfort by reminding people of my needs.”

It’s Perfectly OK To Call A Disabled Person ‘Disabled,’ And Here’s Why

On “Person-First Language”: It’s Time to Actually Put the Person First

The rule is to put the word person first, before the disability or condition, in order to emphasize that those being referred to are people first, not just diagnoses or disabilities. For example, “people with disabilities,” instead of “disabled people.”

This is a perfectly lovely general tip: When in doubt, put the word person first, particularly when referring to people with disabilities. But identity is complex—way too complex for a rule like this to work without any exceptions.

On “Person-First Language”: It’s Time to Actually Put the Person First