Disabled: What’s in a Word? by Frances Leckie

One word that some campaigners would like to see disappearing is “disabled”. Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, finds it completely unacceptable as applied to humans. He says that if a machine is disabled, it means that it is broken down, and describing a person as disabled, immediately establishes this negative association. Another of his objections is the way it is used as a collective noun: “the disabled” – as though a wheelchair user and a blind person are more logically connected with each other than with someone who has no impairment.

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