Lately I've been musing a lot on the language used to describe myself or other people in regards to ability/lack thereof. Let's face it, there is no good word to describe us. I regard all of them as fairly horrible, with some being less horrible than others. So in that regard, I usually use the word "disabled" or some variation of it. But what does "disabled" really mean?
According to dictionary.com (which is my savior on all things word-related), the word "disable" means "to make unable or unfit". But we're not unable to do things, we just do things in a different way. We are still able to move, eat, breathe, and do all the functions of daily living - just differently. Even those of us who need personal care attendants are still doing all those things - they're just having someone else help them do those things.
By contrast, society's barriers are what makes us unable to do things. When a building has steps, but no ramp, wheelchair users are unable to get into the building. When textbooks are not provided in an alternate format, blind people and other PWDs who use textbooks in alternative formats are unable to read the textbook. But with reasonable accommodations, we are able to do everything AB people can do. So are we really disabled? Or, perhaps more appropriately, what is it that disables us?