Disabilities Do Not Mean Incompetence
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Health and Wellness

Yes, I Have A Disability And No, That Doesn't Mean I Can't Participate

We are people, so treat us as such.

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Yes, I Have A Disability And No, That Doesn't Mean I Can't Participate
Emily Henrichs

I have been living with disabilities for 10 years now. I have become accustomed to people thinking I am unable to do something solely because of my disabilities. I want to break down the differences in disabilities and the misconception of disabilities.

Let me start by saying this: I may have a disability, but that does not mean I am unable to do the things that you can do. I can still go to school. I can still understand what is happening. I can run a mile. I can go on a road trip.

For some reason, somewhere along the lines, people have confused about having a disability with not being able to do something.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say I can do everything you can the same exact way. That would be a baldfaced lie. What I can do is succeed in a different way. I can take my medicine at the proper time and be able to travel. I can get help from professors to be successful in my classes. I can ask questions or research to understand a topic more.

I simply want to know, what makes you think a disability equals incapable. Why do you think any sort of disability means I, or anyone else, can't do the same things you can? Take a minute to think about it. Why are you telling me "it's probably best if you stayed here?" Do you think I am unable to do what you can do? I simply want to know, because I obviously do not understand.

Living with a disability is nothing I should be shamed for or looked at like I'm "weird."

Someone with a disability should not be looked at in a sad way or asked: "What's it like having a disability?" For a lot of us, it's just like living the way you live. Sure, some things are a little more dangerous for us to do if we take medicine. Even if that is the case, we still want to be treated like people and not someone you feel "sad" for.

As someone with disabilities, I talk about them. I talk about them because I want people to know I am quite similar to them. I have people tell me they had no idea had disabilities until I told them. I live my life quite similar to them, so there is no reason to think I have any sort of disability. I do though. These people who know me from afar have found out I have a disability and wonder how they never knew. It's because you can't see mine. I look like a normal person, and I am.

People with disabilities can participate in life. Don't shove us into a corner because we have been diagnosed with any sort of disability. We can be a part of everyday life. We are able to take part in activities with others. We are able to take part in something that some people seem to think we shouldn't. We are able to communicate with others. We are able to do all of this. We are people, so treat us like we are.

I simply want to know, what makes you think you can put us in the corner when we tell you we've been diagnosed with this or that. I simply ask you to stop. I ask you to get others to stop. It truly hurts to hear someone tell you, you should stay back. I don't think it's a good idea for you to do this. Let us decide what we should or shouldn't do.

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