Are you interested in a good read? Do you love learning new information that might be informative to you in your daily life? If so, then you need to read this article.

Do you know the difference between disabled vs handicapped? Are you interested in learning the answer to those questions? Then read on.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between disabled vs handicapped individuals and concepts. Let’s get started.

The Definition of Disabled and Handicapped


The terms disabled and handicapped are often used interchangeably. But they have different meanings about the abilities of someone with a physical or mental disability.

A Handicapped explained as an older term and has been replaced in general conversation by disabled. Disability explained generally combines physical and mental disabilities into one word.

It also acknowledges an individual’s needs for accessibility and other forms of support such as medical and financial. For instance, there are disability benefits for back pain as well as other impairments of the spine.

Historical Context of the Terms

The historical context of the terms ‘disabled’ and ‘handicapped’ vary greatly. Before the 1970s, ‘handicapped’ was the word used to refer to people with disabilities, as it gave the connotation of a challenge faced by an individual. Since the 1970s, the idea of people with disabilities being handicapped and inferior has shifted.


During this period, many disability rights organizations proposed a shift in terminology. And the word ‘disabled’ was encouraged as it implies a boundary society places on specific individuals rather than a personal failing. Most medical, social, and educational programs currently replace ‘handicapped’ with ‘disabled.’ The United Nations has declared 2018 as the International Year of Disabled Persons in honor of this change in mindset.

The Impact of Language on Equality & Inclusion

Language is vital in our messages about people with disabilities and handicaps. The distinction between the disabled and the handicapped illustrates language’s impact on equality and inclusion.

Both terms refer to a person’s inability to fully perform specific tasks or activities. Handicapped carries a more negative connotation. It implies that someone is at an obstacle due to their condition.

Between Disabled vs Handicapped

But disabled implies that the person has been deprived of something; a limitation, to be exact. In either case, a person’s rights and potential should not be defined by the labels assigned to them.

Making the distinction between disabled and handicapped not only promotes inclusion and equality. It also frames positive conversations about those with physical and mental disabilities.

The Difference Between Disabled vs Handicapped

Understanding the differences between these two different terms of disabled vs handicapped is vital. It provides respect to individuals with disabilities. While many use the terms interchangeably, this can be seen as offensive.

It is more respectful to become more aware of the differences. Learn more about the nuances behind these two terms and how to use them in conversation properly.

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