Yes, being called an inspiration can be an insult to a person with a disability. Let me explain. People who use this phrase are usually referring to the fact that even though the person has a disability they still get around, do every-day functional things, and seem to take things in stride. All well and good, but let me give you some insight from the mind of a person with a disability. I have actually had people ask me if I wish I was "normal". First of all, what is "normal", and who gets to decide the criteria for "normal"? To me, I am normal. Dealing with my disability is all I've ever known, and is a part of my every-day routine. Just because I may get around a little differently and it may take me a bit longer to get ready to go somewhere than a person without a disability, it doesn't mean I'm an inspiration. Even going to college or getting a job as a person with a disability isn't inspirational. You see, these are things people without disabilities do all the time, and take for granted.
Thing is, we all have our limitations. Some people can't sing well, play a musical instrument, paint, or hang drywall. We all have things we have to adapt to and work around. Some people take music lessons, or an art class. They develop their skills, and adapt to their strengths and weaknesses. Living with a disability is the same way. When someone comments on how "well" I walk with my canes, I usually say something along the lines of, "Thanks, I've had lots of practice." And it's true, even people without disabilities had to learn to walk at one time, I just need a little extra help. So, going about my day, and doing what I need to do is just as mundane and "normal" to me as it is to you, which is why we as people with disabilities tend to see being called an inspiration for doing those things as an insult. Just like someone without a disability, I would much rather be an inspiration because of how I treat people, or maybe a task I accomplished that really took dedicated time and effort.
Now with that said, a word to my friends with disabilities. As I get older I am mellowing out, and hopefully getting a little wiser along the way. I have made a conscious decision not to let this phrase bother me any longer. I realized that I can't control what inspires someone, nor do I have the right to tell them to be inspired, or not. If just the fact I have a disability and can still do normal, every-day tasks inspires someone to be a little kinder, or try a little harder, then so be it. I'm going to keep being me, and doing what I need to do, and not let the small stuff set me back. I challenge you to do the same.