The use of correct language when engaging directly with and referring to persons with disabilities (in written and verbal communications) is essential to ensure that respect and dignity is afforded at all times.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) advocates that ‘person-first’ language must be used at all times, without exception. This means that when referring to persons with disabilities, we are recognizing the person first, before acknowledging the disability. Therefore, disability does not define who the person is.
Below is a table which outlines common mistakes in language, which are a result of long-standing misperceptions and negative attitudes regarding persons with disabilities.
The Inclusion Technical Working Group of the Syria Protection Cluster (Turkey), in line with the UNCRPD,strongly advocates that the language in the left-hand column (“Don’ts”) is abolished from all sectors of the Syria humanitarian response and replaced with the language in the right hand column (“Do’s”).