Is my kid awesome because he is reading and writing early?
...Because she has a beautiful voice?
...Because he has amazing balance and coordination?
...Because she is deeply philosophical?
...Because he memorizes whole movies?
...Because she owns the stage?
...Because she is gorgeous?
...Because she writes beautiful poems?
...Because he has a rich imagination?
...Because she is talented?
What if they were able to do none of those things? Would they still be awesome? Of course. A mother sees her children as absolutely perfect no matter what their specific talents are. Or what challenges they face. Perfect not in the sense of not requiring disciplining, but perfect in the sense of being awesome. Perfectly unique individuals, bundles of potential.
Potential. What does that mean? If a person's potential is extremely limited, and he achieves it, then it is awesome. If a person's potential is great and he squanders it... not so much. Can we really look at people for their own individual potential and appreciate them for their own sake?
Perhaps the reason people have trouble with disability is that we want to be appreciated for our own potential, without regard to how well we live up to it. Easier that way. Recognizing that a person with disabilities is living more fully to his/her potential forces us to face our own laziness. Not a comfortable place to be.
Of course, we don't actually know what anyone's potential is, disabilities or not. And so many of us have invisible disabilities. And pretty much all of us have challenges that we must overcome in order to reach our potential. So the concept of "disability" is not that distinct. It's a way of making the rest of us feel normal.