These disability quotes come from some of the greatest minds, talented musicians, and athletes, who also happen to have a disability.
Each of these quotes is inspiring and should challenge every one of us to reach our full potential.
Most of us are familiar with several terms used to refer to people with disabilities. These may include handicapped, disabled, or differently-abled. Truthfully, we should just stop using any of those terms, and start focusing on that person’s abilities.
There are a few things you can keep in mind when conversing with someone who might have a disability. Never refer to them as “the” followed by whatever their disability might be—”the blind,” “the paralyzed,” or “the deaf.”
Generalizing like this is very narrow-minded, because not everyone who is blind is the same, or feels the same about their disability. The only thing they may have in common is the fact that they can not see.
These disability quotes will help you understand people with disabilities a little better, and keep reading for some tips on how you can encourage someone you might know who has a disability.
Don’t forget to also check out these autism quotes that will reveal to you just how much a person with autism can achieve.
Disability quotes from people with disabilities
1. “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.” — Stevie Wonder
2. “It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.” — Stephen Hawking
3. “A bend in the road is not the end of the road. Unless you fail to make the turn.” — Helen Keller
4. “I have had this desire my whole life to prove people wrong, to show them I could do things they didn’t think I could do.” — David A. Paterson
5. “To sit there and tell anybody they can’t do something because of a disability, I think that’s ridiculous.” — Pat McDonald, who uses a wheelchair and has a goal of playing on the PGA Tour
6. “I was slightly brain damaged at birth, and I want people like me to see that they shouldn’t let a disability get in the way. I want to raise awareness – I want to turn my disability into ability.” — Susan Boyle
7. “Disability is natural. We must stop believing that disabilities keep a person from doing something. Because that’s not true . . . Having a disability doesn’t stop me from doing anything.” — Benjamin Snow, Grade 8, Woodland Park, Colorado, in his essay “Attitudes About People with Disabilities”
8. “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically.” — Stephen Hawking
9. “I thank God for my handicaps. For through them, I have found myself, my work and my God.” — Helen Keller
10. “However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Where there’s life, there’s hope.” — Stephen Hawking
11. “I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs. My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need.” — Nick Vujicic
Disability quotes from Robert M. Hensel
12. “Know me for my abilities, not my disability.” — Robert M. Hensel
13. “I choose not to place “DIS”, in my ability.” — Robert M. Hensel
14. “I don’t have a dis-ability, I have a different-ability.” — Robert M. Hensel
15. “My disability has opened my eyes to see my true abilities.” — Robert M. Hensel
16. “I have a Disability yes that’s true, but all that really means is I may have to take a slightly different path than you.” — Robert M. Hensel
17. “As a disabled man, let my life be a reflection of the endless amount of ability that exists in each and everyone of us.” — Robert M. Hensel
18. “There is no greater disability in society than the inability to see a person as more.” — Robert M. Hensel
19. “We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being.” — Robert M. Hensel
20. “No disability or dictionary out there, is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person.” — Robert M. Hensel
21. “I can not, and will not judge, by what my eyes may see. For the skin on a man shall not reveal his true identity.” — Robert M. Hensel
Inspirational disability quotes
22. “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” — Nido Qubein
23. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” — Confucius
24. “Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that, so it goes on flying anyway.” — Mary Kay Ash
25. “Try not to associate bodily defect with mental, my good friend, except for a solid reason.” ― Charles Dickens
26. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” — Francis of Assisi
27. “For me, disability is a way of getting some extremity, some kind of very difficult situation, that throws an interesting light on people.” — Mark Haddon
28. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” — Christopher Reeves
29. “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” — Scott Hamilton
30. “There are a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability.” — Sharron Angle
31. “Disability doesn’t make you exceptional, but questioning what you think you know about it does.” — Stella Young
32. “Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone.” — Martina Navratilova
Disability quotes about life, society, and culture
33. “Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life.” — Emma Thompson
34. “If we are to achieve a richer culture, we must weave one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place.” — Margaret Meade
35. “The most upsetting thing about Society’s attitude towards disabled people is that many millions of disabled people became disabled while trying to please Society, the very same bitch that secretly regards them as subhuman.” ― Mokokoma Mokhonoana, The Use and Misuse of Children
36. “People didn’t always see a person with a disability who had to use a ramp or elevator as people who have been given unnecessary privileges. But I run into that often now. People are saying, ‘Why do we have to go to great expense for these people?’” — Major Owens
37. “Let’s stop “tolerating” or “accepting” difference as if we’re so much better for not being different in the first place. Instead, let’s celebrate difference because in this world it takes a lot of guts to be different.” — Kate Bornstein
38. “People presume my disability has to do with being an amputee, but that’s not the case; our insecurities are our disabilities, and I struggle with those as does everyone.” — Aimee Mullins
39. “One of the most ignored disabilities on earth is allowing one’s thoughts to discourage one from taking advantage of one’s abilities in life.” — Edmond Mbiaka
40. “Employers have recognized for some time that it’s smart business to have a diverse workforce – one in which many views are represented and everyone’s talents are valued. Well, disability is part of diversity.” — Thomas Perez
41. “And for a very special group of people, we’ve provided their only job. I’m speaking of course of the disabled. They have stated they don’t want a hand out just a hand. We are happy to give them one.” — Carl Karcher
42. “When you hear the word ‘disabled,’ people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter.” — Teri Garr
43. “My disability exists not because I use a wheelchair, but because the broader environment isn’t accessible.” — Stella Young
Disability quotes about sports and from Paralympians
44. “….What I learned was that these athletes were not disabled, they were superabled. The Olympics is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come.” — Joey Reiman
45. “You can take them in a wheelchair and put them in a pool, so they can move their arms and legs. In a pool disabled people can do things that they can’t normally do otherwise.” — Jack LaLanne
46. “These were athletes performing feats that so-called ‘able-bodied’ people would not have got within a country mile of.” — Lord Sebastian Coe
47. “It’s taking something that’s a negative and turning it into a positive. It’s something that is going to be with me for the rest of my life so I might as well make the most of it.” — Megan Giglia
48. “Even the seemingly small things matter if you want to be successful.” — Jordanna Whiley
49. “I lost my leg aged five…Now I’m 1.9 seconds behind Usain Bolt.” — Jonnie Peacock
50. “I try and show everyone what can happen if you overcome adversity and keep trying to do the right things. Stick to some key skills honesty, respect, determination – and eventually you’ll be able to achieve your dreams.” — Jack Rutter
Disability Quotes To Recognise And Appreciate People With Disabilities
51. “Every person with a disability is an individual” – Itzhak Perlman
52. “For me, Paralympic sport isn’t about being the best human being. It’s about being the best human being with that particular level of disability” — Lee Pearson
53. “Disability cannot stop me from becoming a complete personality” — Samyak Lalit
54. “Abled does not mean enabled. Disabled does not mean less abled” ― Khang Kijarro Nguyen
55. “Enable the Disabled; Translate Disability into Ability; Capability, a winning Opportunity-Indeed a Reality” – Dr Veena Kumari
56.”Chastity is not chastity in an old man, but a disability to be unchaste.” – John Donne
57.”Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.” – Neil Marcus
58. “One always overcompensates for disabilities. I’m thinking of having my entire body surgically removed.” – Douglas Adams
59. “I take advantage of everything I can – age, hair, disability – because my cause is just.” – Marjory S. Douglas
60. “Congress acknowledged that society’s accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.” – William J. Brennan, Jr.
What did you learn from these disability quotes?
If you have a loved one who has a disability, you might ask yourself how you can help encourage them. As friends and loved ones, our biggest goal should always be to help the people we care about live their best lives, whether they have a disability or not.
One of the best things you can do to encourage someone you care about who has a disability is to really focus on them. What are their hopes, their goals, their dreams—not what you think they might want to do, but what would they like to accomplish? That is a good thing to keep in mind when trying to encourage anyone!
In 2011 Stephen Hawking wrote, “Disability need not be an obstacle to success,” in the first-ever world disability report. This is pretty good proof indeed since it comes from one of the most influential scientists of modern times, who used a wheelchair and several other physical aides.
So many other successful people who have a disability have achieved things that most of us without disabilities would never even attempt. Let’s let them teach us some things about staying positive, following our dreams, and living life to the fullest.
April 27, 2022 6:00 AM EST