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Teen Wants to Change the 'Positive' Way We Talk About Disability

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Robyn Lambird says it’s time for us all to have a positive disability discussion — but not the kind you may think of when you hear the word “positive.”

In her YouTube video below, “Positive Disability Discussion,” the 18-year-old fashion-loving, rugby-playing vlogger, who also has cerebral palsy, talks about “the type of discussions that need to happen for the disabled community to progress within society and for individuals with disabilities to achieve their true potential.”

By “positive,” Lambird doesn’t mean using words like “brave,” “strong” or “inspirational” to describe people with disabilities (unless they’ve in fact done something brave, strong or inspirational). Instead, she wants us to positively discuss how to make the world a better place for disabled people. She explains this far better (and with far more humor) than us, though. Take a look at some of her points:

1. “Able bodied people calling me inspirational so offhandedly will devalue anything that I do in the future that might actually be inspirational.”


2. “We are the biggest minority in the world and it’s time that we have these discussions.”

3. “I’m talking about discussions with people in the media about how we can get more disabled characters on our screens, more disabled actors into work… so when a disabled actor gets cast in a movie or a TV show or a company like Target has disabled models in their catalogs, it doesn’t have to make the news — it’s to be expected.”


4. “I’m a athlete, I’m a creator, I’m a daughter, I’m a friend. There’s more to me than my sh*tty legs!”

5. “Political correctness has got people so worried about offending someone, that they won’t actually ask the questions and they won’t feel comfortable partaking in this kind of discussion.”


6. “So basically, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want your pity. I don’t want you calling me an inspiration. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. What I want you to do is try and form a meaningful discussion with me and other people with disabilities about how we can actually make life a little bit easier for people with disabilities.”


7. “Stop ignoring us — the equivalent of the entire population of China — and start having discussions. It’s not that hard!”

Watch her full video below:

Originally published: November 10, 2015
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