The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge on Rose B. Fischer’s site gives 52 prompts for bloggers who want to share their responses and give a better idea of what living with disability is really like. I want to share how my perception of disability has changed in my lifetime.
I never considered that there could be a degree of how disabled you are. I always considered it to be a black and white issue–either you are disabled or you’re not. I have learned with maturity that there really is no such thing as black and white with disability.
There are visible disabilities, invisible disabilities, disabilities that cause complete loss of certain functions, and disabilities that may impede, but not prevent, functions that keep someone from completing ADL’s (activities of daily living). A certain disability that doesn’t limit an activity (for instance, walking) when first diagnosed may over time affect that activity more than it did at the beginning. I found out that just because I could take long slow walks when I was younger did not mean that I would be able to do that until the end of my life.
It’s kind of like when you see someone getting out of a car that has a handicapped parking placard or license plate, but the person (or people) in the car don’t LOOK handicapped. It’s easy to make judgments based on what you see, but you have no idea whether they have an invisible disability or a disability that limits their activity, but doesn’t require use of a mobility aid.
I don’t judge if someone has a disability like some of the friends I’ve had in the past who assumed that only people who used wheelchairs were truly disabled. I’ve learned that you don’t know what is going on in someone’s body. They might have good days and bad days, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t disabled. It’s a degree of disability.
It is what it is. That’s all I need to know. I don’t want to be judged, so I don’t judge.