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When People Assume I'm Not Capable Because of My Disability

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Many people have false beliefs when it comes to disabilities. Throughout history people with disabilities have been stigmatized. They have been portrayed as unfit, dependent and been neglected by society and their families. People with disabilities were and still are often deprived of their basic needs and rights to express their opinion. Now times have changed a bit. Breaking these stereotypes, many people are now establishing their identities to change social norms, and taking pride in accepting their disabilities and help to transform other people like them.

Once I happened to meet a family friend and his family. One of his family members has an illness, but he and his family have ignored her illness, afraid to accept the fact she has a disability. Though she is educated, due to lack of exposure she couldn’t adjust to the outside world. Her parents kept her idle and never allowed her to socialize. So when they met my family and saw me using a wheelchair they assumed I also sit idle like their daughter, and even pitied me as I couldn’t move around like their daughter.

I had a conversation with that family about her illness and suggested they allow her to do whatever she can to keep  busy, and help her accept her illness and communicate with people who have similar conditions. They were annoyed and upset, as they couldn’t digest the thought of someone like me, a wheelchair user giving them suggestions to improve their daughter’s lifestyle. I started speaking about how well my mom trained me to cook and adapt myself to everyday tasks by using some gadgets to minimize the strain while cooking or cleaning, and a long reach stick to pick something up from the ground. This family, especially the girl’s brother was amazed. He never knew that despite my disability, I’m capable enough to handle myself and live a meaningful life.

Some people see disabled people as things, or assume we are lifeless. They only see us as a crutch or wheelchair or a “manufacturing defect.” We’re often treated like dirt or damaged goods instead of recognized as human. Dis-ability is not Disturbing the ability, It’s Discovering the ability to adapt to whatever situation life has thrown at us.

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Originally published: February 14, 2018
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