Sure, you think you know about the potential issues people with disabilities face. And maybe you know a little about mobility or accessibility issues. But you probably don’t realize even a fraction of the issues people with disabilities, whether hidden or visible, face on a regular basis.
People living with disabilities – whether hidden or visible – have hopes, dreams and frustrations just like everyone else. There are many struggles people with visible and hidden disabilities go through. I don’t claim to know every single thing everyone with a disability experiences, but these are a few I know inside and out.
10. Pretty much everything in the workplace.
Every school or job setting is supposed to be handicapped accessible. Like, legally. It’s not just a nice-to-have, so get it together.
Oh, and just because someone is disabled, doesn’t mean he or she can’t do the job better than other candidates. Hello! It’s called the ADA. Learn your legislation.
9. The many joys of traveling.
Going through airport security is such fun! Add waiting for imaginary help to arrive, and trying to dealing with disabilities while pushing down a crippling fear of flying…such hella fun, indeed.
8. Feeling like you’re being ignored.
If a person is physically disabled, it doesn’t mean they’re also deaf. Chances are they can hear you loud and clear.
And if they are deaf – don’t act as if they can’t understand what’s going on.
7. Feeling like you’re slowing people down.
Yes, I can move faster than you if I wanted to. Why don’t you try keeping up?
6. Being mistaken for physically incapable rather than just lazy.
It’s not that I can’t get up…sometimes I just don’t want to.
5. Being teased and taunted.
This is a serious issue for people of all ages who have disabilities, whether they are visible or not. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. Period.
Not only is it frustrating, but it’s hurtful. Don’t be a bully.
4. People who think they know how it feels.
If someone without a disability says something like “I know it must be hard” or “I know what it’s like” …chances are they don’t. Don’t be patronizing.
3. People are way too easily impressed.
Just because a person is capable of driving a car or checking their mail doesn’t mean they’re an inspiration to humanity. Seriously. Rethink your condescending standards.
2. Contradictory stereotypes at every turn.
Societies seem to have a set view on people with disabilities: either that they can’t do anything, or everything they do is some sort of inspiration.
That gets old, and confusing, fast.
1. Relationships are tricky.
My friends treat me like everyone else, so much so that they barely even notice my disability sometimes for which I am very grateful.
But while they can see me for who I am, in certain cultures, potential spouses or even their parents can’t get past that barrier, let alone feel up to traversing these challenges with you.