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Don’t Diss my Ability

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

Stop making fun of people with disabilities. It is the 21st century and we still have people in the world who mock people with disabilities, assume people with disabilities are lower entities than they are, and assume people with disabilities are useless to society.

Stop this destructive, dangerous mindset.

Stop telling people with disabilities what they are and are not capable of doing. We know what is best for us and what we are comfortable doing. Yes, we may do things a bit differently. Yes, we may or may not need assistance from you. However, It is not up to you to tell us when we need help. By assuming people with disabilities are incapable of tasks, you dominate over us and do things for us. How can we ever learn if we aren’t given opportunities?

Stop assuming we cannot progress with our education. “Oh, that’s so great you’ve made it to post-secondary!” It’s sad that it is a shock to people. Maybe if schools enriched programs for people with disabilities and included them more through class integration, people with disabilities wouldn’t be so excluded. Also, just because a student requires accommodations, it does not mean that they are stupid. Accusations of students with disabilities “getting it all” and “Oh, they get so much help and have the answers given to them” are absolutely ludicrous. We study just like you do and work just as hard as you do.  Due to our ableist society, however, we need accessibility and tools to help us reach our full potential.

By the way, you should also stop treating us differently when you find out someone gets academic accommodations. I can’t tell you the number of times people with disabilities cringe when someone changes their tone, as though we are children or a house pet or a lesser being. Unless stated otherwise, we don’t need you to talk louder than you normally would, slower than you normally would, or in your baby voice to us. 

Also, it isn’t any of your business what disability we have if it is an invisible one. People seem to believe that if one isn’t physically or medically impaired that they are ‘normal’, whatever ‘normal’ may be. If a disability isn’t apparent to someone, they immediately want to know what it is we have, but not for the right reasons. If you don’t need to know what it is that’s wrong with me, I refuse to tell you. Have you ever considered that maybe people with invisible disabilities may take advantage of passing privilege in order to avoid stigma? We don’t owe it to you to tell you what it is we have.

On behalf of all people with invisible disabilities, telling us, “Oh, I didn’t even know you had a disability! You look so normal,” is not a compliment. Our disabilities are apart of our identity and are what make us stronger.

Furthermore, please have some respect and stop using ableist language. Is it really necessary to use the ‘r’ word? It shows lack of education for a better word, to be quite honest. It’s pathetic how people with disabilities are assumed to be uneducated, yet they are more capable of finding alternative language to avoid harmful terms. You should also know that we are people first before we are a disability, so quit saying stuff like, “that disabled person”.  No. We are people with disabilities.

Lastly, stop feeling sorry for us. We don’t need sympathy or pity. We need advocacy. Understand the struggles we face, don’t belittle us, and be our allies. People with disabilities are still unable to find jobs, find access to resources without stigma, and face constant judgment from their peers. People with disabilities don’t need fixing; maybe it’s society that does.

Don’t dis’ my ablity.

Taurus. Vegan. Tea lover. Rabbit enthusiast. Aspiring social worker and writer. The proud owner of many pets. Avid reader. Fan of the Office, the Simpsons, and Married...with Children. Judge Judy is my idol. The biggest Green Day fan you'll ever meet. I do also enjoy Muse and Mac DeMarco.
Bryanna Millben

Laurier Brantford '20

Hi! I'm a fourth-year at Wilfrid Laurier University working towards a BA in English with a minor in History, and the Campus Correspondent/President for HC Laurier Brantford. I have a super sweet golden retriever named Marley, and aspire to work in Public Relations.