There are a lot of different terms people use to identify a disabled person but to be honest I don’t like most of them. Most of the terms that are used to identify a disabled person I think are very negative and I don’t prefer to identify myself in that way. People still do identify me in ways I’m not too fond of and that is something I have had to learn to live with but to be honest every time I hear certain words it makes me cringe. When I ask you not to use certain words and you choose to ignore me that hurts because that tells me my opinions don’t matter to you! Some words you shouldn’t use to identify a disabled person but everyone is different and what bothers me may not bother someone else. Today I am going to talk about a few terms that I personally don’t like to use or identify myself as a disabled person.
Differently-abled – After I graduated high school I was really struggling to accept my disability because for so many years I was not told that having a disability is not normal and I should not identify myself in that way. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that it is totally okay to be disabled and if anyone tells you it’s not please direct them to this blog! I don’t use terms like differently-abled because not only do I think it sounds stupid(not to offend anyone who uses this term) but it also makes it more difficult for me to accept and embrace my disability for what it is! Some people call themselves differently-abled because they have a hard time accepting their disability and it makes it easier for them to come to terms with their disability but I prefer to just use terms like disabled because that is facts and using a different term does not change anything.
Special needs- My needs are different than abled person’s but I don’t think of my needs as special. I may struggle with some things or may have to make modifications that an abled person doesn’t have to make but my needs are pretty much the same as an abled person. Why are we calling my needs special because they aren’t! Special needs sound like you are giving disabled people special treatment and very negative to me so I don’t prefer to use this term. There is nothing wrong with this term and not all disabled people will feel this way but this is just how I personally feel about it.
Crippled- When I think of the word crippled I think of the words unable and incapable and for that reason, I don’t like to identify myself in that way! According to the Webster dictionary crippled is defined as a disabled or partly disabled person but that is where I disagree and if you ever refer me as crippled I will be offended. Sometimes I may need extra help or may struggle with things you may not struggle with but I more capable of doing things for myself than most people give me credit for. When you call me crippled it makes me believe that you think that I am unable to do anything for myself and the thought of you even thinking that hurts. In my opinion, crippled is such a negative word and unless you know the individual does not mind it should never be used to identify a disabled person.
Some disabled people don’t mind identifying themselves as differently-abled or special needs but for me personally, I don’t like to identify myself in that way. It makes it harder for me to accept my disability so I prefer to use terms like disabled because it’s facts and it makes it easier for me to come to terms with my disability. If you are disabled and struggling with accepting your disability using a different term won’t necessarily help because you can’t be happy until have learned that living with a disability is totally okay. The moment you get out of denial and accept your disability is when you will truly be happy and won’t have to come up with a bunch of terms to hide your unhappiness. If using certain terms makes you happy and able to accept your disability then go for it but just know there is no shame in being disabled! What terms get underneath your skin? If you have any questions about terms I don’t like to identify as a disabled woman please leave them in the comments below.