Thank you!! I am so glad you got so much out of the piece.
For what it’s worth, many disabled people embrace the term disabled, because can be very important to acknowledge the many ways in which we struggle to get by in abled society. This is actually one of the major reasons why I prefer the term ‘disabled person’ to ‘person with a disability’: it foregrounds the fact that we are disabled by the sociocultural context in which we exist, as opposed to having a disability that is inherent to us.
Disability can also be an important part of our identities, in terms of both framing our experiences (good and bad), and belonging to part of a vibrant community of artists, activists, writers and scholars. In that sense, you can think of it much like the LGBTQIA+ and Black communities.
That said, I do also know a number of people who actively reject the ‘disability’ label. Interestingly, that stance seems to be more common among those who are visibly versus ‘invisibly’ disabled— such as myself. I suspect this may boil down to the fact that for visibly disabled people, their experience in society is often one of having to prove they are not limited by their bodies (or at least, not as limited as abled people tend to assume). On the other hand, ‘invisibly’ disabled people have to spend an inordinate amount of time convincing abled people that they are limited by their bodies, to counter accusations of laziness, malingering, hypochondria, etc.
Basically, the best strategy is always to ask a person what terms they prefer — just like with gender pronouns!
Good luck with your writing!!