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This glossary covers a wide range of topics and includes terms that describe people, technology, concepts, and more. Some of the terms, marked by this icon , are widely considered to be

This term is generally agreed to be offensive toward or a person or group of people. We strongly recommend you do not use this term and instead use a term not usually thought to be offensive. While it is possible that some people will not be offended by this term, just as some people will be offended by other terms when no harm is intended, it is best to avoid. Remember that what is considered offensive can also change over time, by scenario, and by relationship. We provide this library of terms for informational purposes and we welcome feedback to help us get it right.

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  • Mute

    Derogatory term for a person who doesn't use verbal speech, often referring to people who are deaf or hard of...

  • Cripple, Crippled

    Derogatory term for a person that has a disability or impairment, usually referring to someone who has limited or...

  • Freak

    Derogatory term for a person that appears to have unusual characteristics.

  • Backward

    Derogatory term for a person that is perceived to be making less intellectual progress or developing more slowly.

  • Hard of Hearing (HoH)

    Description most commonly used for someone who does not hear well, with some degree of hearing loss.

  • Reasonable Accommodation

    Any change to the environment, equipment, processes, or practices that improves accessibility or helps an...

  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

    Devices, methods, systems, gestures, or symbols that supplement or replace oral speech.

  • Joystick

    An input controller that people can use to control wheelchairs, computers, and other devices.

  • Essential Job Functions

    Responsibilities or aspects of a job that are a fundamental part of the position, as used in the Americans with...

  • A11y

    A11y is an abbreviation for “accessibility.” This is a numeronym, where the “11” stands for the 11 letters between...