Disabled or Differently-abled-a new way of thinking


 

Kurt Fearnley (AUS) waves to crowd Athletics 2000 Sydney PGWe all take our senses for granted, and the fact that, on the whole , our brain, mind, and overall body works very effectively for most of the time, but what if we were to lose any of these natural gifts how would we feel then, or how would we feel if some of those gifts had never been there at all?

Most of us know the quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson of

‘Tis is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all

even if some of us, myself included, had no knowledge of it’s origin, but when it comes to dealing with a permanent disability, I wonder whether that is true, and I would be very interested to hear everybody else’s views.

As regards myself I have been “lucky”, as my only real “disability” is a chronic lack of self belief, self esteem, self interest, and care about myself; and long term depression; although. Such factors are slowly, if partially beginning to be resolved, but you may well notice that the words of lucky and disability, are in inverted commas.

The reason for this is simple, as

  1. many within society would question the idea that having such factors within you can possibly be deemed lucky, and
  2. that the term has negative connotation which, under certain circumstances, should be redefined

To begin with, let’s get a couple of definitions out of the way so as to establish what we are talking about

  1. a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.
  2. a disadvantage or handicap, especially one imposed or recognized by the law

These two definitions have been obtained from the Google Dictionary, and looking at other sources such a definition, from more regular sources, seems to be commonly shared, but then what of the comments regarding disability as seen below.

  1. “We all have a disability of some kind; all are lacking in one way or another. Saul has an injury to his leg. What if his personality was deformed? How much worse if his soul was lame? Preachers or teachers look for the good in all of us. (Bless them for doing so.) I don’t see a cripple. I haven’t met anyone yet who isn’t handicapped in some way. So what’s the big deal? Don’t hide your deformity. Wear it like a Purple Heart.” – Georgiann Baldino
  2. When you have a disability, knowing that you are not defined by it is the sweetest feeling.” – In My Dreams I Dance“, Autobiography by Anne Wafula Strike (p. 79)
  3. “Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity.’ Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.” – Neil Marcus
  4. “I am conscious of a soul-sense that lifts me above the narrow, cramping circumstances of my life. My physical limitations are forgotten- my world lies upward, the length and the breadth and the sweep of the heavens are mine!”  Helen Keller 

Two different approaches about disability,,which, at first glance seem to belong in different worlds, yet two approaches which, in my experience actually sit side by side. Why so, well, read on

If you don’t have a “disability” it is all to easy to view such areas in a negative fashion. The focus is more on what the “disabled” don’t have rather than on what they do have, and we assess the disadvantages of whatever condition they have by looking at the world through our “abled eyes”. I can’t blame anyone for doing so as most of us have been conditioned throughout our lifetime to do so, but in doing so do we not rob ourselves of the opportunity to look at life in a new and rewarding way?

There are those within the “disabled community”, which I will now on refer to as being the “differently-abled community”, -an official term I understand, who do and will ask for our pity, and will ponder on what they haven’t got rather than on what is available to them, and in the past I was one of them, but all of us can learn, and in my experience such voices are outnumbered by those who, in a positive fashion, appreciate what they have got, and are determined, as far as possible, to live life to the full

To end this post I return to my main question though. As being part of the “differently -abled community”, is it “better” to have born disabled, as society would term it, or to come to such a status over the years.

I have learn’t so much about life and death through my own “disability”, and I believe that I have become a more complete individual because of my depression, but I know everybodies take on life and experiences are different, so, as stated, I would love to hear your views

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Categories: Growing pains, Just a thought, Reality Checks, What if...

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3 replies

  1. It was really pleasing and education to read your post.
    But, can we actually have a fully inclusive society. Huge strides are being and hope a complete inclusion in all respects is not far away. 🙂

    Like

    • Can we have a fully inclusive society

      Now that really is good question, and if I’m honest my somewhat pragmatic answer would be

      I don’t know

      The positve side of my nature says, yes, in recognition of the mental and cognitive capacity within our brain, but after 55 years of, at times, unpleasent life, my more negative mind says not a hope in hell! Maybe the answer lies somewhere in between.

      Do you recall the commenty By Abe Lincoln of

      You can fool all the people some of the time, and some people all of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all of the time

      Maybe “disability education” follows the same rule of thumb, but then eben if just one person looks at such issues differently, then is that not a gain

      I recall talking to a work collegue about the long term care of Down’s syndrome sufferers, and other such like groups. He stated, without any any direct support for eugenics that it was maybe better if such indivuiduals had not been born at all, due to, what he percieved to be, their subsequent dissabilities and impairments as regards leading, what he termed as, a normal life

      He is a good man, but, as he subsequently admitted, an uneducated man as regards this topic, for when I quietly talked through the topic with him, and gave him relevant information as to historical backgrounds, he both walked away from the discussion avaery different man, and vowed to spread such ionformation and outlook on disability, to his formaly like minded friends

      So it is that change can slowly occur, and I hope, like you, that full inclusion will somehow occur. When though is another matter, but one day society may learn

      Yet hope is useless without action, and that why posts like this are on my blog, so if you think my words have rekevance and credibility, pleasse feel freee to pass my words, and hopefully, my blog adress on

      Like

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