What to say or write

When referring to people with disability either in person or in writing, make sure the language is positive and sensitive.

The Disability Access Bench Book, published by the Judicial College of Victoria, suggests the following:

Outdated language Preferred language


‘disabled person’, ‘handicapped’, ‘the disabled’ ‘Person with disabilities’, ‘person living with disability’, ‘person with lived experience of disability’, ‘people with disabilities’


‘Non-disabled’, ‘able-bodied’ ‘Person without disability’


‘suffering from…’, ‘struck down by’, ‘afflicted by/with…’ ‘mental health problem’


‘Michael experiences depression’, ‘Philippa developed Multiple Sclerosis’, ‘Jarrod has autism’


A person confined to a wheelchair A person who uses a wheelchair or wheelchair user