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The meaning and origin of the expression: Differently abled

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Differently abled

Meaning

Handicapped or disabled.

Origin

This term was coined by the US Democratic National Committee in the early 1980s as a more acceptable term than handicapped (or, in the UK, disabled). The motivation seems to have been both a genuine attempt to view the people previously called handicapped in a more positive light and also as need to be seen as politically correct. The Los Angeles Times reported it this way in 1985:

"In a valiant effort to find a kinder term than handicapped, the Democratic National Committee has coined differently abled. The committee itself shows signs of being differently abled in the use of English."