People with disabilities are people, first and foremost.

A Special Olympics participant strikes a pose.
A CommUnity Starz player strikes a winning pose.

Person-centered Language seeks to focus on the person first and the disability last. For example, a person is not autistic, they have autism. Describe what a person has, rather than what he/she IS. It recognizes the individuality of each person and echoes the notion that each person is deserving of respect.

When referencing the population we serve, it is important to use respectful language that reflects all of the positive changes in perceptions that have been made over the years.

Using the wrong words and descriptors can reinforce outdated stereotypes and we encourage everyone to understand and embrace Person-centered Language.

Members of the media have a special role to play when referencing our organization and the people we serve. Phrases such as “the disabled” or “mentally retarded” or “special needs person” are not just politically incorrect, but they’re discourteous to the people being referenced.

By using Person-centered Language, we are all encouraging respect through accurate, non-judgmental descriptions.

Just A Few Examples:

Say: Instead of:
Children/adults with disabilities Handicapped, disabled, special needs
He has a cognitive disability He’s mentally retarded
Accessible parking, hotel room, etc. Handicapped parking, hotel room, etc.

Courtesy of Kathie Snow “People First Language”. Please view Snow’s article for additional examples and a more detailed discussion.

When referring to AHRC, please note that we do not recognize ourselves as an acronym.

When referring to AHRC Nassau, please note that we do not recognize ourselves as an acronym.  Our name was changed to reflect a more dignified and appropriate way to refer to our services and the people supported though our programs.  If trying to provide context when referencing us, simply note that we are an agency that provides services and supports to people with developmental disabilities. Please contact Community Resources at (516) 626-1000 x1135 with any questions and/or clarifications.