Disability is not really something that we get to see for ourselves every day. Just think about the number of times you must have stepped out to attend office, to visit the theater, to do your weekly grocery shopping, or to dine at a restaurant. How often do you meet or see people who are disabled?
Sadly, only a few.
That’s because many disabled people are not always able to go out and work and lead a normal lifestyle the way people who don’t have a disability do. Because they’re nonexistent and invisible to us, they become even more excluded. This is how an entire population gets filtered out from our daily experience.
It is naturally easy for us to empathize with experiences we can relate to, but when it comes to the things that we can’t, we inadvertently fail to acknowledge them. Our perception gets warped and we end up believing things that are entirely false. And with today being a day that is dedicated to the cause of people with disabilities, there is no other better time to debunk some of the most commonly believed facts about disabled people.
Myth 1: People With Disabilities Are Never Entirely Healthy
Fact: Being healthy is a lifestyle choice that we all can make, regardless of whether we have or don’t have any disabilities.
Just because someone has a disability of some sort, doesn’t mean that person will be chronically ill. Being healthy holds the same meaning for every human being both with and without disabilities, that is staying well and recovering quickly from ailments so as to continue leading fully active lives.
Yes, sometimes people with disabilities may have a variety of health problems that are related to a disability. Often known as secondary conditions, these can include depression, pain, and a higher risk of contracting certain diseases. To be healthy, a person with disabilities only requires health care that meets his needs as a whole person, just like we people without disabilities do – and not just as a person with a disability.
Myth 2: People With Disabilities Are Always In Need Of Help
Fact: People with disabilities are entirely capable of living independently.
Why are we so surprised to see people with disabilities living as normally as the rest of us do? Once again, with the right kind of medical care and guidance, people with disabilities are more than capable of not only living completely independently but are also capable of giving help to others.
Myth 3: People With Disabilities Have Nothing To Offer
Fact: Disabilities don’t come in the way of a person’s talents.
Society tends to see people with disabilities as recipients of charity, almost as if they’re takers, and that they have nothing to contribute. But more and more organizations and companies worldwide have learned to see that disability doesn’t render a person incapable of having his own unique talents or skill sets to offer. A person with a disability is just like any other person – and you’d be surprised to see that he can be as much intelligent, creative, and artistically inclined as any of us without disabilities are, if not more.
Myth 4: People With Disabilities Cannot Have Romantic Relationships
Fact: People with disabilities are just as capable of being successful in pursuing romantic relationships as people without disabilities.
People without disabilities tend to treat those with disabilities as perpetual children who are incapable of taking care of themselves, hence, can in no way take care of or love another human being, let alone have sexual feelings for another person.
There are cases where a person with a disability may lack the ability to consent or may be vulnerable to abuse. But people with disabilities are made up of the same hormones that people without disabilities are. They are perfectly capable of having the same desires and romantic feelings that their nondisabled counterparts have and still have rights to their feelings, their bodies, and their relationships.
Myth 5: If You’re In A Wheelchair, You’re A Paraplegic
Fact: The use of a wheelchair is not always associated with paraplegia.
There is a lot of stigma that is wrongly associated with a wheelchair and its uses. People think that a person in a wheelchair is permanently bound to one and that he can’t survive without it. This is, however, not always true.
Wheelchairs are mobility aids, used to help people who need assistance with moving. This means that wheelchairs can also be used by people who suffer from severe fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, connective tissue disorders or other health conditions that make the body unstable.
These patients may not always look ill and they may even be able to walk normally. However, they’re not always able to complete long distances, and even if they do, it can lead to extreme pain and weakness and may even have a damaging effect on their bodies. For this reason, these patients will often make use of a wheelchair while on a shopping trip, or a family vacation. There will be good days of course when they won’t need the aided mobility of their chair, but they could always need it the next day.