What D.I.S.A.B.I.L.I.T.Y means to me…
Determination – Every single person with a disability encounters challenges and barriers that take their toll on their lives. But those with disabilities have the determination to live life to the fullest. Part of being disabled is having to face challenges that able-bodied people do not have to face to the same degree. This requires a lot of determination and thinking to overcome and adapt to these challenges.
Intelligence – Those people who don’t live with a disability or live with family members and friends that have a disability often uncertain when they encounter someone with a disability in the wider world. They suspect that disabled people cannot answer for themselves or do not have the intelligence to understand what they’re saying and therefore they talk down to them to try and communicate with them in a way that disabled people can understand. But WE as the disabled community can communicate with you and we do have the Intelligence to achieve anything we want to in life and definitely understand what you are trying to say. When people talk down to us we just find it insulting!
Sociable – Despite our disabilities, we are individuals and our own person. We all enjoy being sociable with others and enjoying their company and we definitely enjoy different hobbies and things that we like doing with family and friends. No one likes to be inside 24/7 and disabled people are no different.
Abilities – No two people are alike, even if they have the same disability. All disabilities are part of a spectrum measured by the degree it affects the individual. Everyone has their own challenges and obstacles to overcome, but it makes them the person you are. Everyone has the ability to understand the world in their own right and be their own person, regardless of their circumstances.
Believe – Disabled people need to have self-belief as they move through life. Those who encounter people with disabilities may not always understand the situations other people are in and some may underestimate them, but if the disabled person believes in themselves, this will allow them to see past these preconceptions and achieve anything they want too. Loved ones have to believe too, both in their relative or friend and the life they are all living.
Independence – Everyone with a disability is different, even those with the same disability are affected differently. Yes, everyone with a disability needs some degree of support, but we are all entitled to some form of independence. None of us like to be smothered all of the time. Allow us as a community room to breathe. People like to have the chance to try to do things for themselves, reach something or go out with friends. The wider community and suspect we need to be watched all the time, but we don’t. We are also not afraid to ask for help when we find something too challenging but just give us the chance to try.
Labelled – We as a disabled community are already faced with enough challenges and barriers in life without individuals stereotyping us to one vision. There is a chance that those with disabilities already have low confidence in themselves but to have it voiced out loud just makes us feel unimportant and worthless. We are all capable of more things that people give us credit for but instead, we are put down by those who are so narrow-minded. Life is a bitch! (excuse the language) We MUST power through.
Initiative – Being a person with a disability encourages you to have a lot of initiative and to be creative. The world was built for atypical and able-bodied people, leaving things to be desired for the disabled community. As a result, people with disabilities must use initiative and creativity to adapt to their lives, environment and challenges that the world throws at them. This could involve pre-planning, longer routes as well as other methods that vary depending on the person’s disability.
Tenacious – We all have goals in life, things we want to achieve. Those with disabilities are the same, we also have and goals in life. They may not be as exciting as others, but we still have them. Everyone has dreams and life ambitions and it may take us, longer to achieve it and we may go a roundabout way to seize it, but we will get there! Besides, its more fun that way.
You – The word You can be construed in three different ways depending on your life…
YOU as the disabled person need to be your own person and live your life, do what is right for you, despite other people’s preconceptions and viewpoints. You have to live life your way as you are the one in your situation and you are the one who will live with the consequences of these decisions.
YOU as a relative, or friend or know someone who has a disability. Life already has already thrown challenges at you and your loved ones, you can try and hide away or you can face them head-on. You have to be there to support your loved one in any way possible. We can’t live life without your support.
YOU may be some who don’t have a loved one in your family or circle of friends, but that doesn’t mean you are unable to help and be conscious of those in your community. Be kind, have patience and above all be conscious and courteous with your words and actions!
This is what D.I.S.A.B.I.L.I.T.Y means to me. What does it mean to you? I’d love to hear your own interpretations and stories.