So Is There A Politically Correct Term?

892a98d0388c8fc24e653a7ad32c01dc-huge-poRecently, my husband and I were sitting outside and having a random conversation. I don’t remember the exact context but he caught me off guard when he asked me “What is the correct term to refer to someone with a disability?”. Keep in mind that we’ve been together almost 15 years and I have been paralyzed for over 34 years. Also, his daughter has Muscular Dystrophy and uses a wheelchair too so I was thinking to myself, “Geez! If he doesn’t know, who does?”. What was even worse is that I really didn’t have a straight answer for him.

This prompted me to look up the definition of “disability” in the Mirriam-Webster dictionary and was a little disturbed to find the following: “A physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions.” Okay, I get that I do have a spinal cord injury that causes some huge challenges but just because I may have to go about things differently, doesn’t mean that I am “limited” and “cannot participate in daily activities and interactions.”

When I think of the friends that I’ve made on this crazy journey since my accident, I feel as though they aren’t limited, at all. In fact, the contrary. They do have obstacles which everyone does, in one way or another but have risen to meet and overcome them to be productive, not to mention, generally happy, members of society. They are undoubtedly resourceful, creative, organized problem-solvers who are incredibly strong, resilient and CAPABLE. They can still do the same activities that those without a disability can do, whether it be work, drive a car, play a sport etc. but differently. “Differently-abled” is a term that I’ve heard recently that seems to convey this message.

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Posted by Sparky on Oct 10, 2018 11:10 AM America/New_York