Inclusive SA

In general, put the person first

People with disability are people first.

People with disability are multi-dimensional.

They are not all the same or defined by their disability.

In general, it is advisable to use the person-first term ‘person with disability’ rather than the identity-first ‘disabled person’.

Of course, language is personal and people with disability are not a homogenous group. Some people will prefer identity-first language such as ‘autistic person’.

This is a legitimate preference.

Do not make the assumption that you know — ask the person.

Specific groups within the disability community may also have preferences for identifying their group or identifying a member of their group. For example, ‘person with Down syndrome’ is the preferred term in the Down syndrome community. However, the autistic, Deaf and blind communities generally prefer identify-first language. For example, ‘deaf person’ or ‘blind person’6. This is also true of some people with other conditions. Always respect individual language choices.

Source: Disability Royal Commission — Our Guide for Media Reporting (PDF 515 KB)

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Provided by:
Department of Human Services
Last Updated:
26 Oct 2023
Printed on:
02 Dec 2023
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