This has been a long topic of discussion.
In general, words do not mean negative or positive. Over time, we load words with negative or positive connotations. Then, when the negative impression becomes difficult to handle, we simply replace the word with a new one, and start loading that new word with the negative connotation! How cool is that?!
What we should be doing instead, is getting rid of that negative connotation in our HEADS! For instance, take the word "blind" - its a statement of fact. Someone who cannot see. Thats all there is to it. I love this word. Being blind means i am different, not that i am in any way less or more than the next person. I dont have eyes that see as perfectly as the next person. I may have other gifts or talents.
Over a period of time, what do we do? Make "blind" a bad word, and come up with gems like "Visually disabled" and "visually challenged" . NOW it becomes a problem. disability means "the lack of ability" Challenge means.. well, challenge. Not being able to see is a statement of fact. I much prefer it to these euphemisms. We do not need euphimisms, we need to get rid of that bias in the head!
Whenever i talk to people about Esha, and mention that our beneficiaries are blind professionals, the person sometimes corrects me politely, "you mean you work with visually challenged people" In the same polite vein, i answer "No, i mean i work with people who cannot see. They are neither challenged nor disabled. The only challenge we have is that the rest of the world finds it a problem to accept them as they are."
And that, really, is my problem with euphimisms. To be deaf-mute is a factual state. To be termed challenged because of that, is really a function of an environment that makes it challenging. NOT a function of whether i am comfortable with the rest of my senses.
The rest of us do not hear or smell as well as a dog, and a dog would find us horribly challenged. But the dog is too polite to say that. And we do not think we are inadequate in any way. So why should the blind or the mute be made to feel that they are inadequate?