Thursday, 4 July 2013

"I don't see your disability"

You don't?...this could be really awkward if we meet some stairs.


On the other hand, they'll never catch me based on your description!

Ok, I know people are trying to say "I don't care if you're disabled or not. If you're interesting I'll hang out with you - otherwise, get lost." or "what's your disability got to do with this?" or "I'm not daft. I don't rate people's value based on their ability to tie shoelaces." So why don't they just say that?

Fair enough if a) the speaker has a visual impairment or b) the disability is genuinely an invisible one, but otherwise: No.

Why is 'not seeing' disability a good thing. As if it is shameful, or embarrassing or something to hide.

Disability isn't inherently negative. Nor is it inherently positive.

It is a normal.

And you can't accept something you won't acknowledge.

Disability may mean doing things differently, but it certainly doesn't stop you living a rich and fulfilled life as a valuable and valued member of society, so why this strange avoidance of it?

You see hair colour, shape, clothing - and they are all different, so why not admit to seeing disability?

Because if you STILL won't see mine, you are going to create some seriously awkward moments where the different approach I take, which works perfectly for me, collides with your inability to acknowledge my difference.

I'm differently normal.
But so are you.

Get over it.

Differently Normal wristbands from www.stickmancommunications.co.uk
[Edited to add: Just thought of another suitable use of the phrase. "I don't see your disability as a problem." I have no objections to that :D]

5 comments:

  1. Brilliantly written and as always illustrations hit the nail on the head!

    I got this a lot at work, except the phrase was "I don't consider you disabled". It always felt like some sort of backhanded compliment. "Don't worry, you're one of us, not like THEM".

    Not considering me disabled could also explain why those same people continually forgot to book wheelchair accessible meeting rooms, didn't understand when I occasionally had to drop out at the last minute, or often had to work from home.

    "Not considering me disabled" doesn't stop me from being disabled!

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  2. I had a problem when a family reunion was booked at a venue with a very high step and no disabled loo.

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  3. Great post and great illustrations. My new favorite quote, "I'm differently normal but so are you. Get over it."

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  4. Nosy person-"What do you do?"
    Me- "I'm a mental health service user representative
    "
    Nosy person- "So you look after those kind of people do you?"
    Me- "I am one of those kind of people"
    Nosy person(looking embarrassed) "don't worry dear if you don't say anything no-one will notice".
    Me (silently)"Good grief !!!"

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  5. Someone once said to me " whats wrong with your legs? When I first saw you I thought you were disabled"

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