Is Disabled a Dirty Word?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

My experience is that people sit on both sides of the fence. I get abuse online from people when I use the word disabled, but I also get abuse when I suggest that people shouldn’t use it. I can’t win!

I’ll tell you my stance on it, which comes as an observer, not someone who is affected by disability or lack of ability (call it whatever you like) but from the perspective of someone who grew up with a mum who considered herself disabled and someone who has spent over 12 years working with people who are often categorised as disabled.

But before that, check out this image which I’ve posted on facebook and Instagram.


I’ve received all sort of abuse for this. I’ve been called patronising, insulting and told that I “obviously don’t understand disabled people” to quote one person.

Equally, I’ve been heralded for posting such inspirational content.

The way I see it, you can take offense to anything if you really want to and you can call yourself whatever you like. Disabled, less able, able, person with disabilities, whatever you fancy. But only if you think it’s of benefit to do so.

My mum used to bang her hand on the table and shout “I’m disabled! So they have to let me in!” or other phrases of the same variety.

As I write this email I just got a Facebook notification “Jo xxx commented on your link”. I daren’t look to see what’s she’s written for fear that it’ll be an internet troll set to ruin my evening.

I digress. The way I see it, there’s no line which classifies anyone as being disabled. We’re all just on a spectrum of ability (I call it “the ability spectrum”), some of us higher or lower than others. The only time there needs to be a line is when you’re applying for disability benefits so they can decide who’s eligible.

And let’s be honest…even that system is a pile of wank!

The one thing that every “body” has in common irrespective of where they lie on the ability spectrum is the potential to either climb it, or slide further down it.

There are certain factors which we have no control over which may make us move down the spectrum such as age, chronic illness, catastrophic accidents, but that being said, at any one time, if you make an effort to “train” or “work out” and improve your diet you can push yourself up the spectrum to a higher level of ability. That might mean improving strength, mobility, flexibility, endurance…whatever you want really.

Conversely, if you do nothing at all the natural path is to gradually slide down it. Many people blame age, but it’s actually “length of time that you’re being inactive” rather than age. Lots of people get fitter with age. I’m working with clients who are at their fittest ever, even into their 70s.

So my message is this: irrespective of your age, ability level, whether you’re disabled and proud or if you’re living in fear of becoming disabled and prefer not to think about it…just do your bit to ensure that you don’t sit back and watch yourself slide down the spectrum without putting up at least a bit of a fight.

Increased ability is yours if you want it.


Dom “both offending and inspiring people” Thorpe

Wanna know if I can help you climb the ability spectrum? There are a few ways to find out:

  1. Respond to this blog with your questions and I’ll get straight back to you
  2. Check out these testimonials to see how I’ve helped other people each with their own individually challenging conditions – no two clients are the same but you’ll get an idea of the kind of people I help
  3. Click below to schedule a free consultation call – I’ll let you know if I think I can help and how we’ll go about it
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