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The Language of Disability

January 5, 2008

Better terms for disability are, IMO, differently abled (though I realize some don’t like it) and challenged. I tend to alternate between both designations, but I rarely use disability.

The advantage of differently abled is its common-sense opposite, typically abled. Anyway, I am comfortable in saying that I am differently abled, even challenged, but I don’t feel right about saying I am disabled.

I am “differently abled” in that my abilities may differ from most neurotypical persons. I more “was” than “am” challenged in the manner that my very low-functioning Asperger’s autism as a child challenged me to the point where I am now very high functioning.

Is there also a differently enabled aspect? Yes. Society enables, or supports, some people and does not support others quite as much.

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