Pony of the day
As a disabled adult, I prefer to use that term: "disabled." This is based on my (albeit limited, since I'm only 22) experience with disability rights rhetoric and activism. I don't use the phrase "people with disabilities," since that implies that disability is somehow external to our bodies and identities, when in fact it is an integral part of our lives and experiences. I never say "special needs" because that phrase is euphemistic and implies that the needs of disabled people are excessive and burdensome. "Disabled" is the term that I and most self-advocates prefer because it is to-the-point and frank about the fact that cultural and institutional barriers prevent disabled people from fully functioning in society.
But a lot of people--usually non-disabled people--are uncomfortable with the word "disabled." They prefer euphemistic terms like "special needs" and "differently abled." My question for anyone reading this is: Why? If you are a non-disabled person, a parent, a sibling, an ally, what are your feelings about terminology? What is discomfiting about the word "disabled?" If you are a disabled person, what terms do you prefer and why? How do the words you choose relate to your views and identity?