You know what I just realized? I write a lot about disability and advocating for disabled individuals. I write a lot about acceptance in disability, whether you’re a parent, friend, coworker, or even someone who has never met someone with a disability (that you know of); and yet I’m not sure that I’ve ever explained in the simplest of terms what a disability is.
I just get so fired up.
Disability is a physical, neurological, or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities. It may cause impairments, infirmities, and disadvantages, to performing activities in society due to the barriers that exist.
What I try to address is this:
Barriers exist not because someone is disabled, but because society as a whole hasn’t figured out how to:
- Fully accept disabilities as normal and nothing to be ashamed about
- Fully accommodate all disabilities and invest in the people who have them
- Incorporate Universal Design so that ALL PEOPLE may participate in ALL ACTIVITIES equally
And those things are important because people who have disabilities are PEOPLE. People who are deserving of being treated with dignity, respect, grace, and equality to be viewed as valued members of society that contribute as equally as anyone else can.
This is a lesson that you’ll learn well when you become disabled through an accident, illness, or age if you’re not presently disabled. 🙂