When someone get to know often they see you struggle and learn your challenges so they think it qualifies them as experts in your disability. I am not going to argue that you probably know more medical facts about my condition because I don’t care to remember random medical facts about Spina Bifida but you do not know more about living with it than I do.. It doesn’t matter how many times you have seen me struggle or if you live with me you will never know more about living with it than me unless you have my condition. I could even teach something new to my doctors who study my condition because there are some things you will never know no matter how many medical textbooks you read. Disabled people face all kinds of ableism and discrimination from abled people and sometimes people deliberately are rude but I fail to believe everyone that everyone hate disabld people and sometimes I think people are ablelist without realizing what they have done is hurtful. It is hard to teach abled people how to be less ablelist because a lot peope don’t what ablelism is or understand how that comment is offensive. In this post I am going to talk about a few things that abled people do that us disabled people might find offensive.
We don’t sit around waiting for the cure- The first thing abled people often talk about is being cured and that I should want one. This is an incredibly ableist thing to say and the only thing I have to say about this is why do you think I need one? Do you think my disability makes it so there is something wrong with me or do you legimately think my life would be better if I was fixed? We should be searching for the cure because some people do want to but to tell someone they need it and should want it is incredibly ablelist. It should be someone’s choice on whether they want it or not because it’s a life-changing decision and disabled shouldn’t be pressured to do it because people think we need to be fixed. There are some people that do anxiously wait for the cure but a vast majority of disabled people dont think about it or care and are living happily with their disabilities. I sometimes wonder what life would be like if I wasn’t disabled but not often because that is not my life and I can help more people by loving my disabled body instead of sitting around waiting to be cured. I don’t even talk about being cured with my disabled friends because there are better things to talk about and the only time I have conversations like this is when I am talking with abled people who think I need it.
We hate it when you yell faker at everyone When you pull into a parking lot and all the accessible parking spots are filled it can be tempting to say there are a lot of fakers today. There are some people that will take advantage of disability privileges and steal their grandmother’s parking sticker which makes me so mad but a vast majority will not and are legitimately disabled.. Most people that use accessible parking are not in wheelchairs or using crutches because a majority of disabled people have invisible disabilities so you will not be able to tell if someone is disabled or not. Will some of these people be fakers? Yeah probably but unfortunately unless you ask them for proof of their disability you will not know who has a legimate disability and who just wants close parking. It can be stressful to go out somewhere and spend ten minutes looking for parking but it’s important we don’t accuse everyone of faking their disability because that is the biggest problem people with invisible disabilities face. Give people the benefit of the doubt and know that even though someone doesn’t look disabled that doesn’t mean they’re not.
Accessibility is important to us- Imagine reserving your favorite restaurant months in advance and then being turned away for no reason at all. You would probably be pretty mad and file a major complaint but this is how disabled people feel every time we go out in public and businesses don’t even try to be accessible. Some disabled people can work their way around inaccessibility but some people cannot and have to leave when there is a flight of stairs and the elevator is down. If you are going to have an office in a two-story building please do regular maintenance on your elevators and tell us when it’s down before we arrive because that is an important part of accessibility. If you can’t afford regular elevator maintenance move to a one-story building because when you refuse to keep your elevator maintained you’re denying your disabled customers service and don’t deserve any business. Many disabled people are not able to participle in the same activities as abled people and it’s not because we couldn’t but these activities are not made accessible for us. Accessibility is important to us and we should be putting as much effort into making things more accessible as we are into finding a cure for disabilities because disabled people can’t function when your not accessible.
Staying home is not like being on vacation- Sometimes people will come up to me and say your so lucky for getting money from the government for doing nothing and your basically on vacation 24/7. I get a disabled check every month for being disabled to help pay for some medication and other medical expenses but its not anywhere near close to what I would need live on my own. . I want you to experience my most painful surgery and then I’ll tell you it’s basically like going to Hawaii but better! Living with chronic pain, chronic illness or disability is not like being on vacation because our lives consist of doctors appointments, therapies, insurance battles and it’s like a full time job. I have gone to more medical appointments in a month than you have probably gone to in a year because my disability has so many challenges. I have fantastic medical team but I would much rather work a horrible job and be able to make some money instead of always being at the doctor. Living with a disability does have is perk but it’s nothing compared to what it’s like to be on vacation and if you think that you have a very wrong view of what it means to be disabled.
I can always tell when someone is disabled and when there not because disabled people talk and even act differently around the disabled community.. Abled people often think they are disability experts because they see us struggle but disabled people know you can’t be an expert in a disability you do not have. Many abled people think they know what it means to be accessible but truthfully almost none of them do but they think they do. The problem isn’t only that we live in a world of ableism and inaccessibility but no one is speaking up about it except disabled people so we will never fix this problem. This makes it hard to live in an inaccessible, ableist society because it makes disabled people feel isolated and that no one care about them. Business owners are getting away with not being accessible because they claim it’s too expensive but that is the lamest excuse I have ever heard and if you can’t afford to open the doorway a little wider you don’t deserve to have a business. I may not have a lot of medical knowledge about my disability like my doctors do because I don’t really care to know a bunch of random medical facts about my condition but I do have more experience with living with it than my doctors. There are some things I could teach my doctors about the challenges I face and it would be new information to them because some things you would only know if you were disabled. What would you like abled people to know about disabled and how do you think society can improve to be more inclusive for disabled people?
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