I wish you knew that disabled is NOT a bad word. Every disabled person should decide for themselves if they prefer person-first language or not, but for me: I am disabled. I do not have “trouble seeing” or “see things differently”; I am visually impaired. I do not have “different abilities”, and I am not “handi-capable”. I am disabled. By telling me that I am not disabled, you are feeding into the imposter syndrome and self-doubt that I have spent 22 years trying to overcome. By telling me that I am not disabled, that I have “different abilities”, you are telling me I have nothing to complain about, to see my disability as a superpower. I do not have different abilities or special skills, I have less abilities than most people. There is nothing powerful about breaking bones from running into doorframes and misjudging the location of flying objects. There is nothing powerful about anxiety so severe that I have to miss classes. And believe me when I tell you that poking your eyeball with a mascara wand is not a special skill. I know that people have good intentions when they say things like “don’t call yourself disabled!” and “you just have different abilities”. They say things like this because of the deep-running stigma of disability. Let me set the record straight (for my personal preference, anyway). Disabled is not a bad word. I am disabled.
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The Future is Accessible
Society for Students with a Disability
3800 Finnerty Road
Student Union Building, Room B111