As the mother of a child with a disability, I notice when people stare at my son, Noah. I notice the whispers. I've heard children call him names. It breaks my heart. Sometimes I think they act out of ignorance. They just don't know what is wrong with him. They don't know how to interact with him. They don't know what you call someone with a disability. I've heard him called retarded, deaf, dumb, stupid - just to name a few!
In the past, people with disabilities were not seen as having much to contribute to society and were often times institutionalized. Welcome to the year 2011! Now, the disabled live and work amongst us. There are 49 million people living in the US who have some form of a disability. (That's 1 out of 5, folks!) So obviously the stereotypes are myths, because these people do have a future and they do have feelings!
They are not retarded, dumb, cripple, mute, or defective. They are people just like you and me. They are just different!
So, you ask what do you call an individual with a disability?? You call them women, men, boys, girls, students, your teacher, doctor, neighbor, friend, athletes, brunettes, blondes,church members, leaders, your Mom or Dad, your sister or brother, or and any other word you would call any other person.
I call him Noah.
(Note: I actually wrote this years ago but thought I'd share it in honor of CP Awareness Month.)