When you are disabled often you hear people say things about disabilities which there is nothing wrong with but did you know some of those things are not true. Some people don’t what they are talking about and they want you to believe certain things about disabilities and if you aren’t educated are disability you most likely will. All disabilities are different and there are myths about all of them that are not true. I could not possibly tell every myth about every disability because the truth is there are many disabilities I know very little about. What I can give you is a general list of some of the most common misconceptions about disability. Check it out!
People with disabilities are in constant pain- In one of my volunteer positions someone asked me “are you in constant pain?” The answer is yes I have chronic pain and have pain all the time but it has always been that way and the truth is I didn’t start chronic pain until a few years ago. Disability does not equal pain but as a matter of fact, most people with a disability have no pain at all.
People with disabilities are confined to their wheelchair- Whenever you refer a disabled person as wheelchair-bound or confined to a wheelchair we cringe because we don’t identify ourselves in that way. A wheelchair gives a disabled person the freedom and independence to do more things independently and without them, we would be completely homebound. Using terms like confined to a wheelchair-bound makes it sound like we are glued to our chair and in my opinion very negative. Disabled people are not glued to their chairs we can transfer out of them. Sometimes we just may need a little extra assistance to do so.
All disabilities use wheelchairs- Have you ever heard of an invisible disability? I am guessing you have because there are probably more invisible disabilities than visible ones. Yes, some people with physical disabilities use a wheelchair but others may not need one at all. Some disabilities do not limit your ability to walk or make it difficult to walk long distances it all depends on what disability you have! Wheelchairs are not required for all disabilities and you should never assume that.
Abled and disabled people live completely different lives- Disabled people do some things differently from an abled person to make their lives easier. For the most part our lives are not much different from yours we pay bills, do laundry and get an education just like everyone else! The only difference is we may adapt some activities but our lives are pretty similar to what your life will look like.
All people with physical disabilities have limited feeling in their legs- I have limited sensation in my legs because of my disability but my friend Karly who has Muscular Dystrophy has complete feeling in her legs and feet. Every disability is different and not all disabilities have a loss of sensation in their legs and feet so never assume a disabled person cannot feel their legs because there is a good chance you could be wrong. If you think they wouldn’t mind then ask them first don’t make wrongful assumptions.
Dating is out of the question- Some people with disabilities struggle with finding significant other but many do not! Disability does not equal being single your whole because many people with disabilities get married! Sometimes people with physical disabilities may struggle because their disability is more pronounced but that is not the case for everybody.
It’s alright to park in an accessible parking spot if it’s only for a few minutes- It doesn’t matter how long you park there if you are not disabled it is never okay to use these spots! Not only are you taking away from people who really need those spots but you could be fined if you get caught parking there without a sticker. Depending on what state you live it these fines can be pretty expensive and not a price I would want to pay! Accessible parking is not there for your convenience and some people with disabilities cannot walk long distances and when you abuse these spots you are taking away a necessary accommodation.
Disabled people need special treatment– One of the most annoying things disabled people have to put up with is when abled people talk to us like we are children. We are just regular people with mobility aids so talk to us like you would any person our age! Would you talk to another twenty-year-old in your baby voice? I don’t think so! Why are you using that voice when talking to a disabled person? Just be normal it is not that hard and all we ask.
If you are not educated about disability people will believe whatever you tell them. Don’t be that person that believes everything people tell you because not everything you read or hear is true. Some of it maybe but some of will not and will be completely false! One simple way you can find out if something disability-related is true is to ask someone who is living with that condition. They will likely be very up on the latest research and be very aware of all the myths so they will be able to answer your questions. Educate yourself! What myths about disability have you heard? I am very interested in hearing all the different myths so please leave them in the comments below!