A Guideline for Writing and Reporting about People with Disabilities

Information for Journalists, Students and Organizations:

Terminology and Portrayal of People with Disabilities

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities provides information to print and broadcast reporters, students, disability organizations and the general public about terminology and portrayal issues concerning people with disabilities. The department not only advocates for the use of appropriate terminology to journalists who contact MOPD directly but also to those who have previously reported on people with disabilities using inappropriate language by asking them to reconsider their word choices in the future. As such, MOPD encourages greater understanding about the impact that language and portrayal can have in shaping public opinion and awareness about people with disabilities.

A great resource for professional communicators, educators, and human service providers is the University of Kansas - LifeSpan Institute’s Guidelines for Reporting and Writing about People with Disabilities. The words and images used can create either a straightforward, positive view of people with disabilities or an insensitive portrayal that reinforces common myths and is a form of discrimination. The Guidelines reflect input from over 100 national disability organizations and has been reviewed and endorsed by media and disability experts throughout the country.

For an entire version of the Guidelines for Reporting and Writing about People with Disabilities, please click on the link below.

Guidelines: How to Write and Report About  People with Disabilities, 9th Edition 

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