Resources/Fact Sheets

Table of Contents:


Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion
Available for download HERE
This publication highlights successful disability inclusion strategies, which businesses of all sizes can use to create a more inclusive workplace, marketplace, and supply chain. Real-life examples are provided in order to help businesses realize the wide range of opportunities available and the potential for replicating success. An assessment is also included as a tool to initiate or enhance a company’s disability-friendly corporate practices.


Eliminating Stereotypes — Words Matter!
Like other minorities, the disability community has developed preferred terminology — People First Language. More than a fad or political correctness, People First Language is an objective way of acknowledging, communicating and reporting on disabilities. It eliminates generalizations, assumptions and stereotypes by focusing on the person rather than the disability.

What Should You Say?

Be sensitive when choosing the words you use. Here are a few guidelines on appropriate language.

  • Recognize that people with disabilities are ordinary people with common goals for a home, a job and a family. Talk about people in ordinary terms.
  • Never equate a person with a disability — such as referring to someone as retarded, an epileptic or quadriplegic. These labels are simply medical diagnosis. Use People First Language to tell what a person HAS, not what a person IS.
  • Emphasize abilities not limitations. For example, say a man walks with crutches, not he is crippled.
  • Avoid negative words that imply tragedy, such as afflicted with, suffers, victim, prisoner and unfortunate.
  • Recognize that a disability is not a challenge to be overcome, and don’t say people succeed in spite of a disability. Ordinary things and accomplishments do not become extraordinary just because they are done by a person with a disability. What is extraordinary are the lengths people with disabilities have to go through and the barriers they have to overcome to do the most ordinary things.
  • Do not refer to a person as bound to or confined to a wheelchair. Wheelchairs are liberating to people with disabilities because they provide mobility.
  • Do not use special to mean segregated, such as separate schools or buses for people with disabilities, or to suggest a disability itself makes someone special.
  • Avoid cute euphemisms such as physically challenged, inconvenienced and differently abled.

Examples of People First Language

Say This Not This
people with disabilities the handicapped, the disabled
people without disabilities normal, healthy, whole or typical people
person who has a congenital disability person with a birth defect
person who has (or has been diagnosed with)… person afflicted with, suffers from, a victim of…
person who has Down syndrome Downs person, mongoloid, mongol
person who has (or has been diagnosed with) autism the autistic
person with quadriplegia, person with paraplegia, person diagnosed with a physical disability a quadriplegic, a paraplegic
person with a physical disability a cripple
person of short stature, little person a dwarf, a midget
person who is unable to speak, person who uses a communication device dumb, mute
people who are blind, person who is visually
the blind
person with a learning disability learning disabled
person diagnosed with a mental health condition crazy, insane, psycho, mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, demented
person diagnosed with a cognitive disability or with an intellectual and developmental disability mentally retarded, retarded, slow, idiot, moron
student who receives special education services special ed student, special education student
person who uses a wheelchair or a mobility chair confined to a wheelchair; wheelchair bound
accessible parking, bathrooms, etc. handicapped parking, bathrooms, etc.

A short, printable, one-page document with People First Language examples can be found HERE.  For more detailed reading, click HERE.



Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies.

DakotaLink is an assistive technology provider in South Dakota that has a wide selection of products, as well as consultation, assessment, installation, and training services.  DakotaLink has compiled a list interesting apps, some of which may be beneficial for individuals with (or without) disabilities.  This list is available HERE.

For a look at assistive technology in the workplace, HERE is a video showcasing individuals utilizing a variety of products.



People with disabilities have equal or higher job performance rates, higher retention rates and lower absenteeism than people without disabilities.

  • People with disabilities are experienced problem-solvers and can bring a unique perspective to the workplace.
  • There are tax incentives for employers to help offset the cost of accommodations.
    • Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction (all businesses are eligible)
    • Small Business Tax Credit – received for making business accessible to person with disabilities
    • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) – tax credit for employers hiring individuals from certain targeted groups (i.e. low-income, VR referrals, veterans, summer youth employees, SSI recipients)
  • Fifty-six percent (56%) of workplace accommodations cost absolutely nothing.
  • Typical one-time expenditures for an accommodation are $600 or less.
  • Options for training the ideal candidate include:  On the Job Training, Job Coaching, and Work Experience.

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