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Handicap has been disparaged as a result of false folk etymology that says it is a reference to begging.It is actually derived from an old game, Hand-i'-cap, in which two players trade possessions and a third, neutral person judges the difference of value between the possessions.Different terms have been used for disabled people in different times and places.Disability or impairment are commonly used, as are more specific terms, such as blind (to describe having no vision at all) or visually impaired (to describe having limited vision).These conditions functionally disabled them, and what is now known as the social model of disability emerged.Coined by Mike Oliver in 1983, this phrase distinguishes between the medical model of disability – under which an impairment needs to be fixed – and the social model of disability – under which the society that limits a person needs to be fixed.Disability, as well as other concepts including: abnormal, non-normal, and normalcy came from this.

They were also thought to be part of the natural order, especially during and in the fallout of the Plague, which wrought impairments throughout the general population.

These worked in tandem with scientific discourses that sought to classify and categorize and, in so doing, became methods of normalization.

The concept of the "norm" developed in this time period, and is signaled in the work of the Belgian statistician, sociologist, mathematician, and astronomer Adolphe Quetelet, who wrote in the 1830s of l'homme moyen – the average man.

Contemporary concepts of disability are rooted in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century developments.

Foremost among these was the development of clinical medical discourse, which made the human body visible as a thing to be manipulated, studied, and transformed.

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