This picture has been shared on the Life After Spinal Cord Injury Facebook page and has received lots of comments. It’s common to see phrases in news stories like “bound to a wheelchair,” “suffers from a disability” or “crippling condition.”
I have the unique perspective of being a journalist and a person who lives with a disability. As a journalist, I was taught to use person-first language when describing a person living with a disability.
The Associated Press Stylebook says “avoid descriptions that connote pity, such as afflicted with or suffers from multiple sclerosis.”
Words such as crippled are considered offensive. Handicap should be avoiden when describing a disability.
I would consider myself as someone who uses a wheelchair. The wheelchair doesn’t define me; it’s simply a device I use for mobility.
In reality, the wheelchair does not confine or bind us. These devices are what enable us to live and move independently. We are able freely get around because of this equipment.
The AP Stylebook also says that blindness and deafness refer to people with complete vision or hearing loss, respectively. For others, use the terms visually impaired or hearing impaired.
Help spread the word to show society that we are people first! Let me know your thought on this issue. Comment below.