“Myths and Misconceptions“
People make silly assumptions about people with disabilities. Many people form preconceived ideas about the disabled community at large. From personal experience, here are just a few:
MYTH 1. DISABILITY IS A DEVASTATING PERSONAL TRAGEDY WITH NO CURE.
- The Truth- The lives of disabled people are not tragic. The solution to disability is to remove the environmental and attitudinal barriers which are the real causes of the disabling process.
MYTH 2. SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION IS LESS INTELLIGENT.
- The Truth- There is no connection between mental health and intellectual ability. A quarter of people in the UK will have a mental health condition at some time in their lifetime regardless of their IQ score.
MYTH 3. BLIND PEOPLE ACQUIRE A SIXTH SENSE.
- The Truth- Other senses may be used to gain accurate information but there is no such thing as a sixth sense.
MYTH 4. CHILDREN SHOULD NOT ASK PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR DISABILITIES.
- The Truth- Some adults find the natural, uninhibited curiosity of children embarrassing. Reprimanding children for asking questions may cause them to think there is something ‘bad’ about disability. Most disabled people will not mind answering a child’s question.
MYTH 5. DISABILITY AND ILLNESS ARE INTERRELATED.
- The Truth- Disabled people are not necessarily sick but are subject to the same illnesses as any other person.
MYTH 6. DISABLED PEOPLE ALWAYS NEED HELP AND MAY BE DEPENDENT.
- The Truth- Being physically unable to do something does not cause dependency-not being able to drive is solved by using the services of a bus or train company. Disabled people may require different services and it is only when choice over those services is removed that dependency occurs.
MYTH 7. MOST DISABLED PEOPLE ARE UNABLE TO HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS.
- The Truth- People with disabilities, like other people, are sexual beings. They can have relationships and children.
MYTH 8. DISABLED PEOPLE ARE BRAVE AND COURAGEOUS.
- The Truth- The experience of disability requires an adaptation of lifestyle rather than bravery and courage. It should be viewed, in many ways, as similar to any other significant life event.
MYTH 9. WHEELCHAIR USE IS CONFINING- USERS ARE LITERALLY ‘BOUND’.
- The Truth- A wheelchair, like a shoe or a car, is a mobility aid that enables a person to get around. Wheelchair users are restricted by an environment that has been designed for able-bodied living.
MYTH 10. THE EXPECTATIONS OF DISABLED PEOPLE DIFFER FROM OTHERS.
- The Truth- Disabled people go to school, work, form relationships, do their laundry, eat, get angry, pay taxes, laugh, have prejudices, vote, plan and dream like anyone else.
So now that I’ve exposed these myths, this article should bring awareness and end the stigma of disablism and ableism.