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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not!”          

- Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

Resources for Reporters


Words Matter

These resources are here to increase awareness about the importance of culturally sensitive language and images when reporting about individuals with disabilities and their families.The following guidelines are suggestions for using language in a more sensitive manner that avoids reducing individuals to a series of labels, symptoms, or medical terms. Advocating for media representatives to be aware of how they use language regarding individuals with disabilities and their families does not suppress freedom of speech. Rather, these suggestions are intended to guide media representatives about how words really do make a difference.

The resources are organized into the following six different categories and can be accessed through the menu on the left:

Your Words, Our Image
Portrayal Issues
Person-First Language
Rosa’s Law & the Language of Bullying
A Few Exceptions
Key Concepts in the Disability Community
Your Words, Our Image
Portrayal Issues
Person-First Language
Rosa’s Law & the Language of Bullying
A Few Exceptions
Key Concepts in the Disability Community
Your Words, Our Image
Portrayal Issues
Person-First Language
Rosa’s Law & the Language of Bullying
A Few Exceptions
Key Concepts in the Disability Community
  • Your Words, Our Image
  • Portrayal Issues
  • Person-First Language
  • Rosa's Law & the Language of Bullying
  • Key Concepts in the Disability Community

They are presented here with permission from our partners at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas in Guidelines: How to Write and Report About People with Disabilities, 8th Edition. You can find the original text on their website.

  • Download this content as brochure. (PDF, HTML)
  • Download guidelines as a poster. (PDF, HTML)