Enable or Empower
The ADA and the usage of the politically correct term "physically challenged" rather than "disabled" hope to alter our mindsets from seeing the disability first to seeing the person first; that we will no longer look at an injury as an incapacitating obstacle but simply as a challenge to be overcome. Looking at the disability first is enabling, while looking at the person first is an act of empowerment.
There are those who look at a situation and say, "How could he accomplish his goals with that disability?" That enables the person to sink to the level of the limitation. It provides an acceptable excuse to fail. The perspective that empowers is, "Why wouldn't he be able to accomplish his goals with that disability?" That question challenges the person to rise above the limitation, looking for creative solutions that allow him to accomplish his goals.
When I was in elementary school, my mother was told I would never be good at math. She never relayed that evaluation or treated me in a way that made me feel inferior in math skills. Instead, she asked the teacher for extra work and worked with me at home. She assumed I could do the work. She didn't receive the words of that teacher as a disability, but as a challenge. She didn't coddle what someone else perceived as a limitation. She provided tools to overcome the challenge.
The result was that I took AP classes all through high school and college. My senior year in high school, I placed in the top three in my state in a math competition. That was the day I learned that I had accomplished what I was never supposed to be able to do, according to the educational experts. That is the difference an attitude of empowerment can make.
There will always be situations in which the outcomes are different from the expected results. When given all the empowerment possible, some goals are still unattainable. And some people, even when others enable their limitations, rise above and do what appears to be the impossible. But when any situation is approached from the standpoint of, "Why wouldn't I be able to accomplish my goals?" the options sure do open up!