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Disability Isn’t Always What You May Think

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Disability doesn’t always look like ♿️!

Although a billion people worldwide live with some kind of disability, according to the World Health Organization 74 percent of those with disabilities don’t use a wheelchair or anything else that might visually signal their impairment to the outside world. This means the public may not be aware of the challenges faced by the disabled individual, or they may be reluctant to provide the necessary accommodations for that individual’s impairment.

As a fairly fit looking 34-year-old, it’s not always obvious that I need a seat on public transport, that I’m unsteady on my feet, that I struggle to write, or that it’s hard for me to climb stairs. So understandably, people don’t respond to me as if this is the case. However, for many young disabled people, myself included, it can be a nerve-racking experience disclosing our disabilities to strangers. I have been in a number of situations where strangers have doubted my disability or asked intrusive questions when I requested certain accommodations.

So please be mindful not to judge a book by its cover, and remember that disability is not always 100 percent visible. Accessible amenities are there for the people who need them, and it should be up to individuals to honor that without strangers policing them.

Originally published: July 16, 2018
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