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Disability Is Not a Bad Word

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Disability is not a bad word.

Able-bodied people are afraid of being offensive by calling people with disabilities “disabled,” so instead, they call us “differently-abled,” “special needs,” “handicapped,” “handicapable,” and more.

Each disabled individual has a preference of how they want to identify and what they would prefer people to refer to them as, but many if not most choose to identify as disabled.

People need to start teaching their kids to not avoid or be scared of people with disabilities because it sets a bad example. Parents need to stop dragging their kids away from disabled people. If they stare or point, they’re most likely curious and just want to know more about something they see. Maybe it’s not something they see every day, or maybe they go to school with someone like the person they are looking at. Every kid deserves to have friends and people to hang out with, whether they’re able-bodied or not.

By making places more inclusive and accessible to everyone, such as implementing universal design, ensuring inclusive education, making social media platforms and content more accessible, employers hiring more disabled people, raising awareness about different conditions, and having conversations about inclusion, equality, accommodations, accessibility, and more, we would be setting a better example for present and future youth.

Accessibility should be a reality and something that we actively strive to improve, instead of it being the newest trending hashtag because it sounds “cool.”

If you want to be an ally to people with disabilities, learn from the source directly. Reach out to the disabled community to find out what they need, what’s important to them, and what you want to know more about.

We are just like everyone else even though we may act, look, or do things differently than what abled-bodied individuals are used to or what the “norm” is. We are capable of living fulfilling lives with reasonable accommodations and support.

We need more unity and acceptance. We need more inclusion. People can learn so much about things they may have never previously thought about, or get a new perspective that may broaden their knowledge or awareness about something. Having inclusion and accessibility in society benefits everyone, both disabled and non-disabled. It needs to be the norm, not something we have to constantly fight for.

At the end of the day, we are people. We live, we breathe, we love, we laugh, we cry, we are human. We are all human.

Originally published: April 27, 2022
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