Yesterday, while researching ‘the definition of disability’ for my self chosen assignment for college, titled: ‘The Misrepresentation, Portrayal and Language Used to Describe Those With Disabilities/Impairments’ . I came across a website which describes a disability as how I would see one.
The Disability Act 2005, as stated on nda.ie says “The Disability Act sets out a new definition of disability for the purposes of defining who should be included in the target. This definition of disability is”:
“A substantial restriction in the capacity of the person to carry on a profession, business or occupation in the State or to participate in social or cultural life in the State by reason of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment.”
This definition believes that a person, no matter what impairments they possess, is only considered “disabled” if they are unable to “paticipate in social or cultural life”. I was first labelled as “disabled”by my image, when using a wheelchair, without consideration of what how I ended up or came about to need this transport. That word was never mentioned when I depended on the Segway for mobility. I would reply ” do not EVER call me disabled; just because I use a wheelchair for mobility.” To me that word means ‘not capable of living independently in one’s surroundings’. I am fully aware and more than capable of living independently. My situation in a wheelchair is a temporary condition. I have never settled with the idea of relying on a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I most certainly don’t appreciate when a stranger, defines or presumes that I am “disabled” and incapable of certain scenarios based on my visual appearance.
Unfortunately because the dictionary has a different definition for the term “disability”, which is the “lack of adequate power, strength, physical or mental”. A lot of people see this definition as the term to describe every being seen as ‘unnatural’.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who takes offence to this presumtion without proof.
As my mobility declined, I was coerced into a wheelchair. For most people, their teenage years don’t consist of a forefront battle to keep their independence; a lot never even have these experiences throughout their entire life; which may lead to ignorance as a result.
People who have are not in regular contact with someone who is less fortunate than themselves are usually always the ignorant person. They do not know the versetality of impairments. Therefore perceive anyone with the slightest hint of inadequecy as a vegetable unable to serve for themselves.
I don’t think any “able” person would appreciate being called “disabled”. So what makes you think an able-minded person thinks different?