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Guidance on People First Language


Monday, September 3, 2012

The “People First Respectful Language Modernization Amendment Act of 2012,” (“People First Act”), effective September 26, 2012, “remove[s] offensive, dated language referring to persons with disabilities, including the term mental retardation, and replace[s] it with respectful language that puts people first.” Specific examples include but are not limited to replacing the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability;” replacing the terms “lunatic” and “mentally ill” with “person with a mental illness;” replacing “wheelchair-bound resident” with “resident who uses a wheelchair;” replacing “handicapped tags” with “tags for persons with disabilities; and, for people with intellectual disabilities, replacing the terms “customer” and “consumer” with “individual.”