Differently Abled

By Jeffrey Marler on April 29, 2016 in Blog with No Comments

1. Open up a new browser tab and go to google.com.  Go ahead… I will wait.

2. Now type DIFFERENTLY ABLED and press enter.

3. Read the definition…

This is what I got…differently abled disabled

I have a feeling you got the same.

Way to go Google… But to be fair Bing.com gave the exact same result.  This is not an internet search problem.. it is a culture problem.

It is obvious that at this late date, PEOPLE JUST DON’T GET IT.

Culture does not understand the difference between “differently abled” and “disabled.”  Many feel like the term differently abled is an effort to be more politically correct… a kinder gentler term.  This is not the point.

People with differently abled kids understand. We see it up close.

Until relatively recently, children with physical handicaps and/or learning challenges were identified as “handicapped,” “disabled,” or “mentally retarded.” Having differently-abled children myself, helped me understand that “differently abled” people have their own unique set of gifts and deserve the same degree of respect expected by “neurotypical” people.

Children with disabilities are not incapable, which is the uneducated assumption in the terms “handicapped, disabled,” and “mentally retarded.” There are many ways children compensate for a reduction in abilities; in fact, they often have other strengths that exceed many neurotypical children: Special Olympians, special interests of children with autism, or engaging personalities and general cheerfulness of children with Down syndrome.

It is a head scratcher how we have not come to understand this.

Meet Patrick Henry Hughes.  He was born with out eyes and the ability to straighten his limbs. To define him as disabled is to miss the essence of who Patrick is.  Just watch..

Way to go Patrick! This is what it means to be differently abled. It applies to my kids. It applies to your kids. Truth told, it applies to all of us.

More dangerous than the definition of a term is the definition society will try to press upon our children.

We need to spread this differently abled term and more importantly the truth within it.

At Aspire Interventions we hold to this mantra – Life Beyond Labels.  We believe strongly that there is a fulfilling life beyond what ever terminology used to describe your loved one.

Your child has a unique set of gifts and as their parent you know this. We know it also. We want to join you on the journey.   


These are our thoughts, but what do you think? We want to hear what you think? Do you think there is a problem if we only see the disability and not the ability in our kids?

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Jeffrey Marler

About Jeffrey Marler

Jeffrey Marler has written 44 posts in this blog.

Speech Pathologist, Communicator, Listener, Researcher, Therapist, | Southlake, Texas Dr. Marler is an internationally recognized clinical researcher. At ASPIRE – Innovative Language Interventions, PLLC, you receive care and treatment from a professional with 28 years of experience with learning disabilities and 15+ years as a speech-language pathologist. Dr. Marler has a PhD in Speech and Hearing Science with an emphasis in auditory-based learning disabilities. Connect on Google+

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