Hełlo, I’m Gbubemi Adeneye (Ms.), an amputee & Yes, I have lived all my life being physically different, so i guess I can confidently say I’m in a great position to shine some light on this particular topic. I actually want to correct some rumors (let’s say ignorance) most people think/belief about ‘society’ so tagged “disabled” “handicapped” “special” “physically challenged” to name a few… The following “incorrect vs. reality” assumptions the society has often triggered by fear, lack of understanding and/or prejudice. Promoting negative images of disability is a form of discrimination because it creates barriers to full self realization for people living with disabilities.
*A PERSON’S DISABILITY DEFINES WHO THEY ARE AS AN INDIVIDUAL :- People often label individuals with a disability according to their conditions or limitations. It is common in our daily lives to hear references such as “the disabled (which is also the term I have to borrow for a better understanding)”, “the handicapped”, “the amputee”, “the blind” (to name a few) and this label(s) can make an individual focus on his/her disability(ies), hindering his/her self confidence or ability(ies).
*PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE SICK AND IN CONSTANT PAIN :- I understand that this ideology is mostly conceived out of care (love) but this in most cases can start or cause phantom pain / restriction in the life of the recipient and which may some times be the cause of the inability to function properly and not the person’s disability. People with disabilities are like people without disabilities just as people get sick on occasion or sometimes may be in pain so it is for people with disabilities.
*PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES TYPICALLY DO NOT SUFFER OR EXPERIENCE PAIN DUE TO THEIR CONDITION :- Like I said above, people with disabilities most times are in pain like every other person may be but this should not be set as an embargo/limitation/restriction over their capabilities. However, whenever they function well in their own capability, mojority of people tend to take their effort for granted. (Note : It takes some extra energy for the disabled to get things done no matter how easy they make it look.)
*PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE BRAVE, COURAGEOUS AND INSPIRATIONAL FOR LIVING WITH THEIR DISABILITY :- Now this is real talk, people with disabilities are often portrayed as superhuman or courageous as they triumph over adversity. As a result of this idea, in some occasions (mostly in family settings), people expect too much from people living with disabilities and people living with disabilities tries to do everything to impress, which often times end up with taking a backtoil on their mental activities especially when they find themselves not living up to expectations. (Note : living a successful life as a disabled person is just as living a successful life as an able person). George Covington, a writer who is blind, has said, “We’re seen as inspirational, and inspiration sells like hotcakes. My disability isn’t a burden: having to be so damned inspirational is.”
*PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE SPECIAL AND SHOULD BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY :- The ideology of “special” to a person is accepting the fact that you cannnot measure up and this serves as a series of limitations. Level of performance for success should not be underestimated with the “special” associated with people with disabilities. To those living with disablity(ies), disability is not a personal tragedy and you must not entertain pity of any kind.
*PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE NEEDY :- Just like any one may have difficulty doing some things and may require assistance, so, people with disabilities may require help on occasions. Disability doesn’t mean dependency or having a poor quality of the things of life. Cultivate the habit of always asking (which is always a good strategy and not assume) people with disabilities whether they need your assistance (Just ask!)
Hence, there are more to come but please kindly take your time to check (even when your actions or reactions are out of pure care & love) if you are improving or causing detriments to lives of the disabled persons around you.
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