Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler's A Feminist Dictionary (Pandora Press, London, 1985), originally published in the US, lists the following entry for "Disabled" (p124).

These quotes reveal the way in which the term "disabled" is itself regarded as a term of abuse in the US. In the UK, there appears to have been a greater move to reclaim it as a positive term and source of pride, akin to "dyke" and "Black".

Kramarae and Treichler's section on ABLEISM (p23) reads:

To this definition I would add the words "assumptions about" after "because of". I would also want to discuss the extent to which prejudice and discrimination results from hatred of people who are "different from the norm".

NB: "Physically challenged", often used in the US, is an interesting term. Many people who would not define themselves as disabled can be physically challenged in particular circumstances, for instance fat people (this term has also been reclaimed), short people and those impeded by illness or injury. For this reason it is both a useful concept, particularly in relation to the external environment, and unsuitable as an alternative description to "disabled".

Dr Ju Gosling aka ju90's ABNORMAL: How Britain became body dysphoric and the key to a cure is available now for just 3.09 for the Kindle or in a limited-edition hardback with full-colour art plates for 20 inc UK postage and packing. Book cover