I have heard so many people out there who have either said "disabled people are a drain on our society" or from the disabled community in frustration to negative stereotypes just say "who the hell cares". We get lumped into this label of being disabled and people would like to forget that we exist without any further follow-up on what that label really means to the person who wears it.
Do you wear your "disabled" label with Pride or Shame?
I regularly end up wearing it with shame. When I get laughed at for answering a question literally. An example of this was when I had to appeal to my benefits. This is what happened:
Judge: "What would you do if you needed to go out for milk?"
Me: "I wouldn't go out"
Me: " Well because I don't drink milk so I wouldn't go out to buy it"
Judge: (sniggers) "Miss Fricker, you know what I meant"
Me: "Judge, no offence but you asked me what I would do if I ran out of milk, I don't drink it, so I would not do anything"
This was a judge who had paperwork in front of her stating that whilst my autism report said inconclusive, it was in the professional opinion of the assessor that I was highly likely to be autistic. I had to have this question asked about 4 times before they got an answer they liked the sound of.
It is easy to get into trouble with any disability to not focus on the negativity. But I say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
Disability does mean you are different from everyone else. Whether it is a solo condition on its own or a condition that has an umbrella term with multiple different spokes we are different. However, our differences make us strong. Due to our recruitment process, I have to write these things called "behaviours". They are basically situational write-ups of things at different levels in the hope that it will help you secure a position within the team, department or company you are applying for. I recently found out that whilst I struggle to write these for myself as I get far to literal in everything and struggle to meet the word count, I can teach people how to do this using technique I learned to help me with studying when in sixth-form. Dyslexia Super Powe! Because of how I ended up with depression I am told I am very empathetic with people and can spot someone in crisis. This is my depressive superpower. Whilst I do take things really literally I can get to grips with things in work that interest me a lot quicker than other people on my team. Autism Super Power. With my PTSD I struggle with fire hazards however, this means I could probably teach a seminar on fire safety.
Every downside has an upside. Every negative has a positive. So how about we take the Dis out of Disability and start calling ourselves Differently Abled! After all, it is about our Abilities and NOT our disabilities.
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