According to the AP Stylebook and several other guides, when writing about people with disabilities;

Avoid using terms such as “handicapped” or “cripple.” Clearly define the type of disability if you can. If this is not possible, you can use “people with disabilities” or “disabled people.”


Inappropriate: Services for the handicapped and their families

Use: Services for people with disabilities and their families


Avoid language that suggests pity such as “suffer from”, “afflicted with,” “victim of,” or “stricken with.” Instead, simply state the facts.


Inappropriate: She suffers from cerebral palsy.

Use: She has cerebral palsy.


The AP Stylebook considers blind as “a person with complete or nearly complete loss of sight.” For persons who are not completely blind, use “visually impaired” or “person with low vision.”

Similarly, “deaf” is described as “total or major hearing loss” in the AP Stylebook. For others, you can use “partial hearing loss” or “partially deaf.” Avoid “deaf-mute” and “deaf and dumb.”

Moreover, use “wheelchair user” instead of “wheelchair-bound” or “confined to a wheelchair.”

Under any circumstances do not use “retard” or “mentally retarded.”


References and for more information:

The AP Stylebook 2019

National Disability Authority

National Center on Disability and Journalism