Words allow us to shape issues, cultures, and worldviews. Political types know that all too well-- and use that technique, perhaps, all too often. At some point in the past few decades, "disabled" has become the politically correct adjective to apply to people, as opposed to "handicapped." That has always interested me.
If we deconstruct the word, disabled would seem to imply something changed over time-- a person was able, and at some point became dis-abled. Like many people, however, my cerebral palsy is the result of an accident at birth. I was never more physically able than I am now. Therefore, I am not disabled. I am handicapped, however, in that I can't do all the things the average human can do, and that has negatively affected my life prospects.
I'm not convinced the above is simply playing with words. To deal effectivvely with reality, we must define reality as clearly as possible. By keeping in mind the fact that there are subgroups within the disability community, we keep the human condition in focus. The point is to develop policies that not only support the maximum personal independence of people we put in a particular group, but to do so in such a way that enhances the fundamental humanity of society.