What do you think of the word disabled? — Scope | Disability forum
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What do you think of the word disabled?

Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
The word disabled and disability hold many connotations. It's possible you view it to be a very firm part of your identity, or you believe it is only a negative- highlighting you are not same as everyone else.

Samantha Renke wrote a piece for The Metro discussing this very topic: Should we use the word ‘disabled’? 

One theory that must be taken into consideration when looking at the word ‘disability’ and its definition is the social model of disability which identified impairment and disability as two completely separate entities.

What does the word disabled mean to you? 

What are your thoughts on this? Should the word disability stop being used? Let us know in the comments below!



  • exdvr
    exdvr Member Posts: 331 Pioneering
    This is one of my pet hates.  I have a situation which labels me as disabled but I think it's a horrible word.  I consider myself to have serious handicaps and would very much prefer to be classed as handicapped.

    Best wishes.


  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for sharing this @exdvr- it's definitely something that is so personal to the individual and that's okay! :)

  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    I agree with Jean, I have no problem with the word disabled. That is all it is, a word. It's the perception of others which irritates us and why we need to keep going forth on challenging this.
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • wilko
    wilko Member Posts: 2,449 Disability Gamechanger
    We are not born equally, and as we grow develop some of us have been born with contracted or as a result of an accident or injury find ourselves in a new and different world. Many or most can come to terms and accept our handicap, diagnosis and disability. The trouble begins when we meet others who don’t know what to expect how to engage with us out of fear or ignorance. While most of us carry on with life the best we can except those of us dependent on high care needs. So if people strangers see you struggling with mobility or other activities on a regular basis the barriers can and do come down and meaningful and helpful conversations and relationships and friendships are formed. Honesty and trust with confidentiality is all that is need to be accepted.
    RAMPEDUP Member Posts: 3 Listener
    To me what is worse is "Service User" - I prefer client or customer or even patient but "user" is derogatory, as in drug user.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    That's an interesting observation @RAMPEDUP, thank you. I'll admit 'user' always sounds a bit inaccurate, impersonal and maybe a bit jarring to me outside of a digital context.
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  • debbiedo49
    debbiedo49 Member Posts: 2,904 Disability Gamechanger
    After years of being off sick from work with mental and physical health issues, then on and off esa and then applying for pip, I must admit I struggled with the word disabled. I didn't see myself as disabled. My former identity was able bodied, independent, working, provider, care giver etc. However, once I realised that my issues were long term and I got a diagnosis I realised yes I have disabilities. Is that the same as being disabled? I don't know. What I do know is, it helped me to understand that my life had changed and I would be doing things differently. My priorities have changed. I will not force my body or mind to do the impossible like superwoman. As a fully able bodied person I took my health for granted even though the warning signs were there. Now I do not take my health for granted. I am also very aware of who I can and cannot be open to about my disabilities because I don't trust some people to treat me as their equals for example at work. There is still a divide between those who think you shouldn't be at work if you can't do the job without adjustments and those who think you should I think that's more down to people competing for jobs rather than discrimination, or I hope so. In an ideal world I would be proudly wearing a t shirt stating I have disabilities what's your super power? But I don't and I won't. I  used to think I shouldn't use the disabled toilets but now I think hell yes I should and no one has ever approached me and asked me why. I think I'm lucky in my town as the public toilets are mainly accessible and the more modern buildings are accessible. I don't think twice about using a lift. People may look but I know why I'm using it  I think what others are saying about the way people treat you as a human being with just the same worth as everyone else is what counts. In fact, if you are enduring any disabilities you may have more life experience to offer. I say this hiding behind a screen peeking over as I am not as confident as I sound lol. 
  • KG100
    KG100 Member Posts: 178 Pioneering
    I hated being called disabled, but have now realised, probably with age that that's what I am.
    I accepted it more when I got my blue badge and bus pass, and also the massive toilet key we use !!
    In my mid fifties now so it dosen't bother me so much. 
  • Kell430
    Kell430 Member Posts: 59 Courageous
    I've always felt like a fraud when people have described me as disabled, even though I've been diagnosed with CP from birth, I only have it mildly, and working with children and adults with far worse needs than mine only made me more stubborn not to be called disabled. So I couldn't do skating or ride a bike, I concentrated on the things I could do like dancing.  Even now I am on long term sick waiting for surgery and people say I should claim pip and my union rep made me tell my work I was disabled as it would help me more but I was horrified I still feel like a fraud xxx
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for this @debbiedo49! I suppose it's up to you about if having disabilities means that you are disabled. I can understand, and relate to having a former identity when a disability or condition is acquired. It's okay to feel conflicted about this.

    @KG100, a radar key can be very handy! Your identity around disability can be whatever you are comfortable with :)

    @Kell430, I'm sorry you feel like this. Even if your condition is mild this doesn't mean you're not entitled to support- even if you feel that way in comparison to others. If you would like to look into PIP then please do let us know.


  • Kell430
    Kell430 Member Posts: 59 Courageous
    Thankyou @Chloe_Scope I am thinking about pip as even the smallest amount  along with my ssp would take some of the financial pressure off my partner xxx
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    The decision is complete yours @Kell430 :) It may help to take the PIP self- test to see if it would be worth claiming? However, please use this as a guide as it would not necessarily mean you would get it due to how the assessor sees the claim. Please let me know if I can do anything else!

  • Kell430
    Kell430 Member Posts: 59 Courageous
  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    It is what it is....changing the name wont alter the disability.....most non-disabled only recognise us by that name!
  • fab66
    fab66 Member Posts: 13 Connected
    Dis anything is horrible. I have a normal brain, born ‘normal’ just happened to have been passed an antibody through hereditary means ie blood. But nothing known about this. When I was first diagnosed in 2002 was told no such thing as hereditary. But mother’s pass good and bad antibodies to their children.
    Unfortunately with life’s ups and downs at the age of 50+ I went through menopause, then low and behold it got worse. Clicky knees started to change to stiff knees although I cycled and swam often.
    Gradually in Paris getting off a coach I strained my shoulder and ended up having steroid injection so I could keep working. Followed by physio on both shoulder and knees.
    By 2005 I went through winter feeling tired all the time couldn’t cope was anxious and tears, went to doctors, it was “the change” and my blood pressure was sky high 250 so had to rest. I was off a month, went back to work until I no longer had pleasure in it due to pain and associated kwips from colleagues “what’s wrong with you”, “why do you always moan when you get out of your chair” oh and “you’re not sick again”. Well by December 2006 I was sick, sick of the induendos, sick of the pain and sick of the attitudes from so called colleagues. I decided I had struggled enough, struggled to walk from car park to offices, struggles to bath, struggled to dress, struggled to cope. In fact I decided to “dis” the lot and walked or rather hobbled out. It took me 6-8 weeks to realise I’d been “dis” criminated by them. So looked to my rights and approached my union about “dis” crmination. Long story short I was “dis” missed under I’ll health, for which I took them to employment tribunal. Whereby my solicitor told me they would settle out of court. Which she advised me to take as my “dissed” ex colleagues who had witnessed all the above would lie in court to safeguard their own jobs. So I “dissed” the whole company for allowing this as it was illegal to do this.

    Shame the “dis” Equately Act doesn’t “diss” this attitude.
    Hence my view is a person with “Inequalities through Health issues”.

  • April2018mom
    April2018mom Posts: 2,868 Connected
    I could literally write a article on this topic. It means different things to different people. My son has moderate/severe physical limitations but seriously the child is exceptionally smart like his twin sister. They keep me constantly
    on my toes. We have had speedbumps from day one but generally I have it much easier than other families with a disabled child. My son’s condition is often not the issue even in public.
    But I definitely hate the word differently abled. However I take no issue with the terminology or vocabulary that is used to describe us. All I can do is gently correct people who use blatant derogatory terms or who swear at me for taking my time. I don’t flinch when I hear disability. This is a interesting topic to discuss. 
  • pollyanna1052
    pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 2,032 Disability Gamechanger
    any word longer than disabled or more words wont be popular
  • wilko
    wilko Member Posts: 2,449 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello everyone, it’s been interesting reading the comments, reading them it looks as if most of, if not all of us accept our illnesses, impairments and disability and get along with the majority of people most of if not all of the time. Those of us who are yet to accept, come to terms with the challenges that our illnesses, diagnosis and disability brings to our live each day can become bitter resentful. We, you and I if newly recently moved into this group of society find it difficult to integrate manage or cope maybe we aren’t trying hard enough or willing  to accept or get involved because of fear, rejection or not fully able to participate in the activities your interested in.  Either way we can stand out make the first move get motivated and encourage others by our examples of involvement. Come on Test the water it not that cold.
  • mikeymike
    mikeymike Member Posts: 40 Courageous
    Ok trying not to get on my soapbox here regarding labels. Back in my childhood at school in the east end of London I had friends of many races and colours my best mate was black and if I had called him anything else he would have been pretty upset I am white neither of us had a problem with this as it’s not derogatory calling him the n or c word would have been much the same as people with disabilities were called spastics some labels as highlighted are derogatory so if someone was to say I am disabled then yes I am as I don’t consider that derogatory in any way as it only states the obvious so I don’t have an issue with labels per se only when a term is purely used in a derogatory manner 
    here endeth my soapbox rant 


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