Disability Language Use Statement

Language is important and powerful, and how we use it matters.

We strive to be respectful and inclusive of everyone’s experiences and identities and to reflect that in our communication. Language use is constantly evolving and changing, and we work to ensure our communication is responsive to these changes.

RTC:Rural uses both person-first and identity-first language, following guidelines and recommendations developed by national disability organizations, advocates, and people with disabilities. Our usage is directed by the purpose of the information being shared, the audience, and disability stakeholder guidance.

Overall, we follow the guidance described in the resources linked below. As language changes, so will these resources and our use of them. We invite you to share new resources and perspectives with us as part of this evolving process.


Guidelines: How to Write about People with Disabilities (9th Edition) from the University of Kansas Research & Training Center on Independent Living

American Psychological Association’s (APA) Publication Manual, Seventh Edition

Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) National Network

Portrayal of People with Disabilities from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Disability Terminology: Choosing the Right Words When Talking About Disability from the HIE Help Center

Journalists should learn to carefully traverse a variety of disability terminology from the National Center on Disability and Journalism

Community and Culture—Frequently Asked Questions from the National Association of the Deaf