I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to add a few things. My husband is disabled, he has sacral agenesis, so he has been disabled since birth. He is very capable of taking care of himself and has been that way since he was young because of his mother. His mom never treated him special, made him do chores just like the other kids. I remember one day coming to his house and watching him shovel snow! Anyhow, because of this he has never ever felt sorry for himself and has no tolerance for kids with disabilities that are unable to do simple tasks (He was a wheelchair racing coach at a university for a while). He also would never want to be able to walk or be "healed" he likes who he is and is comfortable with all of his "challenges" as some would say it.
One other thing, within the disabled community certain terms are accepted. "cripple" and especially "gimp" being two of them. It's always said in joking, and no one takes it seriously. "Gimp" especially as it often denotes level of physical ability, if these terms are used by outsiders, it's thought of as offensive to some, but not to all.
Since a few have commented on spina bifida I know quite a few wheelchair racers with Spina Bifida and they are always referred to as "biffers". It's easier to say and quickly says what their disability is. And they refer to themselves as "biffers" as well. You can use this term in different ways as well. Since people with Spina Bifida can sometimes walk, "biff walk" is used to describe the kind of side-to-side gate that they use.
I have a quick story just about the misunderstandings of the public with this. One day my husband was sitting at the post office. There were two guys sitting on a bench near him, one kinda hippy lookin guy and one college student. The hippy guy says to my hubby, "You been there your whole life?" And he says, "Where?" the guy points to his wheelchair and says, "there." My husband says "Yah." And the guy says, "Thank you for showing me my life isn't so bad."
Well then the college guy goes on to tell him that guy was stupid and that he's the one with the disability. (THIS to my husband with a degree in Engineering mathematics, and a valedictorian! Go figure.) It was kinda funny, but at the same time sad that this fellow JUST doesn't get it. ah well.
I could go on and on with stories, but I won't cause it just gets a bit old after awhile. If ya really want to hear them, lemme know.