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Difference between Handicapped and Disabled

Difference between Handicapped and Disabled

There is a big difference between being handicapped and disabled. Many people use these words interchangeably, but they have entirely different meanings. A person who is handicapped may be able to do some things on their own but may need help with other things. A person who is disabled cannot do anything on their own and requires around-the-clock care. Let’s take a closer look at the definitions of these two words.

What is Handicapped?

Handicapped is an umbrella term used to describe individuals that have physical or mental disabilities, health impairments, or a combination of both. Handicapped people are faced with obstacles due to their disabilities, limiting their ability to access public places, resources, and systems.

Handicapped people require extra attention and care from society in order for them to achieve the same success as those without any limitations. Organizations like Handicapped International try to promote social inclusion as well as provide support and resources for handicapped individuals in order to alleviate their suffering caused by the discrimination they may face on a daily basis.

What is Disabled?

Disabled is a term used to refer to people who, due to physical or mental impairments or challenges, have diminished capacity for typical or expected activities in comparison to the mainstream population.

  • Disabled individuals may grapple with a variety of matters related to their disability, including limited physical activity, barriers to education, and lack of access to resources and services.
  • Disabled people are often an overlooked population in society and can face multiple forms of discrimination by employers and other members of their communities.
  • It is important to remember that disabilities do not define individuals; instead, they require extra care, understanding, and provision of support so they can participate fully in society.

Difference between Handicapped and Disabled

  • Handicapped and Disabled are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, but in reality the words have different meanings. Handicap refers to the lack of ability, resources or opportunity to perform a physical task or other requirement needed for an individual to survive.
  • On the other hand, Disability is an umbrella term that explains additional restrictions imposed on individuals with disabilities. These can include physical impairments, mental impairments, sensory impairments, developmental disorders and learning disabilities that can limit daily functioning and overall quality of life.
  • Handicap may be solved over time with age-related changes or improvements to infrastructure, whereas Disability might need long term solutions such as adjusting lifestyle or getting assistive devices.


Handicapped and disabled are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. A handicap is a physical or mental impairment that limits a person’s ability to perform certain activities. A disability is an umbrella term that includes both impairments and handicaps. Disabilities can be visible or invisible, permanent or temporary. Many people with disabilities lead full and productive lives. There are many resources available to help people with disabilities, including special education, accommodations, and assistive technology. Thank you for reading this post on the difference between handicapped and disabled.

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