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Disability Language Style Guide

    Creator: National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ)

    Date Updated: March 31, 2024


    Disability Language Style Guide is also a downloadable PDF that lists appropriate terms and phrases when referring to people with disabilities in publications or conversations. Translated versions are available.

    The information in this resource is summarized from the Disability Language Style Guide.

    Quick Facts

    Disability Language Style Guide lists terms referring to people with disabilities, emphasizing the person first.

    It advises that when creating stories or content, only discuss someone’s disability if it is relevant to the story.

    Definitions explain the background and how to use the word/phrase in context.

    • American Sign Language (ASL) is a language of “signs” spoken by the Deaf community. Interpreters are professionals who translate spoken words into ASL. 
    • Blind/Legally Blind/Low Vision refers to someone who has no vision, someone with almost complete vision loss, or someone with limited visual function. It advises asking the person what terms to use.
    • Dyslexia is a commonly diagnosed learning disability for children and adults, where people struggle with reading, spelling, matching word sounds to letters, and processing auditory information.

    Visit the Disability Language Style Guide.


    National Center on Disability and Journalism (NCDJ), Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Arizona State University. (Aug 2021). Disability Language Style Guide. NCDJ-Disability Language Style Guide, from