What Do I Call you?

What is the the appropriate and accurate language to use when speaking to, writing, or talking about people living with disabilities?

  • Crippled
  • Person With Disabilities (PWD)
  • Handicapped
  • Differently abled
  • Physically inconvenienced
  • Physically challenged
  • Special

Among people with functional limitations, the term "disability" has become the most widely accepted term. It is an accurate, succinct description, which encompasses most people with physical disabilities.

An example of political correctness is the changing terminology used to described handicapped people. In the past the term "crippled" was perfectly acceptable and not considered offensive. At some point, somebody decided "crippled" was degrading and the preferred term changed to "handicapped". This, too, was eventually deemed offensive and "disabled" became the preferred term. Today, "disabled" is now considered degrading and "differently abled" and "physically challenged" are now the politically correct terms.