The change from handicapped children to individuals with disabilities reflects a shift in how disabilities are thought of and written about. Reference to the individual is placed before the word disabilities. IDEA and similar legislation has resulted in students with disabilities being included in the mainstream of school life. A further result is that the inclusion of students with disabilities has challenged teachers to embrace all students in a person-first way. Person-first is a movement that advocates looking at individuals instead of differences (Beadles, 2001). Language specific to that movement is the focus of this article.
Lieberman, Lauren J., "Language to Live and Learn By" (2004). Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education Faculty Publications. 56.