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The word 'disabled'

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
Okay, so, I was talking to a friend at college about this and it got me thinking.

I said I don't like the word disabled, purely because it defines people by what they can't do. It's such a negative term, one that instantly pigeon-holes people. I went on to think about how 'disabilities' can produce some of the most amazing things ever - bionic limbs for instance. Personally, I find robotic/bionic body parts to be super interesting and frankly fantastic. Seeing some of the Paralympians out there makes my jaw drop. Why define people by saying "you can't do things"?

What are your views on the word and stigma attached to this? Anyone with a disability able to give a viewpoint?

Comments

  • *BananaMonkey**BananaMonkey* Posts: 5,462 Part of The Furniture
    I don't know if my reply is exactly a viewpoint as such, but here goes.

    I have a learning disability and I don't like the word 'disability' for the same reason as you, I feel like it just labels what people can't do, when in fact just cos somebody has a disability it doesn't mean they can't do something, they just do it differently.

    I have always been told that it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get from A to B it's still possible, it may just take a little longer. Everyone is unique.

    'Think ability, not disability'
    " And everywhere I am, there you'll be, your love made me make it through, oh I owe so much to you "
    " So I say thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing, thanks for all the joy they're bringing, who can live without it, I ask in all honestly what would life be? Without a song or a dance, what are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me "
    '' It's a beautiful day and I can't stop myself from smiling "
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know if my reply is exactly a viewpoint as such, but here goes.

    I have a learning disability and I don't like the word 'disability' for the same reason as you, I feel like it just labels what people can't do, when in fact just cos somebody has a disability it doesn't mean they can't do something, they just do it differently.

    I have always been told that it doesn't matter how long it takes you to get from A to B it's still possible, it may just take a little longer. Everyone is unique.

    'Think ability, not disability'

    Exactly my point. :) Any ideas on what word or phrase would be better used?
  • *BananaMonkey**BananaMonkey* Posts: 5,462 Part of The Furniture
    I am not to sure on a word or phrase that could be used better. When I was younger I was always told I was unique and special and it was okay.. So I guess that is how I see myself now, I know what I want to type but I can't get the words in order in my head right now, sorry I am not much help.
    " And everywhere I am, there you'll be, your love made me make it through, oh I owe so much to you "
    " So I say thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing, thanks for all the joy they're bringing, who can live without it, I ask in all honestly what would life be? Without a song or a dance, what are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me "
    '' It's a beautiful day and I can't stop myself from smiling "
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I am not to sure on a word or phrase that could be used better. When I was younger I was always told I was unique and special and it was okay.. So I guess that is how I see myself now, I know what I want to type but I can't get the words in order in my head right now, sorry I am not much help.

    No need to apologise. :) Nicely said, it's just a difference, not necessarily a weakness. A comedian with a false leg suggested the word 'mutant' in place of 'disabled' which made me laugh, not sure how that would go down though!
  • **helen****helen** Deactivated Posts: 9,235 Supreme Poster
    Really interesting thread :)

    You might find this PDF from equalitytraining.co.uk makes some relevant points: http://www.equalitytraining.co.uk/images/news/language_of_respect.pdf
  • *BananaMonkey**BananaMonkey* Posts: 5,462 Part of The Furniture
    Yeah I fully agree its just a difference, everyone is different from each other nobody is the same and we all have different ways to do things and complete tasks.

    I think there is a lot of stigma around the word 'disability' maybe cos of lack of understanding for people.

    I know for me people at work didnt understand my learning disability and I was treated unfairly at first. But its okay now. :)

    Sent from my GT-I8190 using Tapatalk
    " And everywhere I am, there you'll be, your love made me make it through, oh I owe so much to you "
    " So I say thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing, thanks for all the joy they're bringing, who can live without it, I ask in all honestly what would life be? Without a song or a dance, what are we? So I say thank you for the music, for giving it to me "
    '' It's a beautiful day and I can't stop myself from smiling "
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I feel the same to BannaMonkey as people with learning disabilty or disability can get judged r rally quickly and dont understand u. This sort of behaviour does happen in schools partially and isn't understood by the general students. Alright for them not to have a disability. They both are different to one another but they are still linked to a disability. I don't think any word would be better to rephrase the word disability, this word will still be used no matter what. Why treat anyone different as everyone is different anyway.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That PDF's a good read, Helen. Banana Monkey - things usually take a bit of getting used to with people, but it's good to try not to blame them for it. :)

    Agree with everything mentioned. I have to be honest, if no one was 'disabled' or different, the world would be absolutely rubbish. It's those differences that give the world colour, so why label them so negatively? Another good example is Autism. Some of the most incredibly minded people in the world are Autistic - people that can draw entire cityscapes in amazing detail after one look, people that can hack the world's most secure networks. Although Autism can negatively effect people, it can also produce amazing things. I refuse to believe things like this should be called a disability when so much good can come of any impairment. Even if its an emotional benefit or a life change someone makes.

    I personally think differences make the world the fascinating place it is.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I prefer spaztastic myself but that's not very PC! My problems with the word disabled is that it gives a very binary image - not the vast scope and array of things that could be covered by disability - I use a stick indoors sometimes, but mainly a electric wheelchair outside but I can walk very short distances and I don't always use an electric sometimes I use a manual chair. I have a very fluctuating condition and I think people just see disabled as a full time wheelchair user and that's it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Im similar i dislike the use of the term 'disabled' and i like the judge on ability not disability very good point!

    Like what most have said, i find it tends to make people think they cant do stuff because of there disability but they can it just means doing it in a different way and i think actually it makes them more able to do things as they adapt to the circumstances. i think the fact that able body and those with a disability can do the same things and work together is what counts not that they are disabled. but like someones already said i dont know of a better term which could be used.
    I never tend to use the word disabled despite having volunteered with some people with disability's, i feel like sometimes people see a disabled person and believe they are kinda like a child (depending on the disability) thats what a friend said who has a disability often she feels talked down to due and the word disabled kind of branded across a mix of people.

    Thats my view :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree Rosebud, I don't like the word disabilty. Sounds like a stigma which isn't something u should care about. I don't know any other words to use instead of disability. I've never heard of spaztastic, that's something I wouldn't of come up with.

    MikeS I totally agree with what u had to say about the world would be boring if everyone was the same. I think it makes the world a more interesting place to live in. Learning about different cultures, doing an rewarding job by helping someone in their life, getting to know a wide range of different people as in what they like and what they dont like and people with different races can be a good place to get everyone mixing with other people. You said about Autism, weren't there a scientist who is autistic? That's very good example to give.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hmmmm. :chin:

    I agree with everything people have said. I just feel like the word disabled is a way of looking down at them when, in reality, they're the people who usually deserve looking up to. Again, I think it just says "you can't do things". When that's far from the truth, disabled people a lot of the time make more of themselves than a lot of other people. We should just treat everyone like any other human being because that's what we all are at the end of the day - we all have our differences to others.

    Agree with what Miss Riot said about the spectrum of things it can cover. Crazykiss - a mind blowing sketch artist called Stephen Wiltshire who draws entire skylines from memory is autistic. He's one of few savants in the world who can do such a thing, all emerging from his autism. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MikeS wrote: »
    I think it just says "you can't do things". When that's far from the truth, disabled people a lot of the time make more of themselves than a lot of other people. We should just treat everyone like any other human being because that's what we all are at the end of the day - we all have our differences to others.

    I completely agree, everyone should be treated exactly the same because we are all human.

    I just want to point out that nobody knows exactly what it's like for a person that does have a disability. My ex for example had a physical disability and he really struggled with a lot of pain some days but nobody saw that apart from me. So yes, I do agree that it makes people see you differently but I think sometimes that's a good thing because if people had ignored that my ex had a disability and been like 'do this, do that, go there' I would not have been happy because he wouldn't have been able to manage that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That's very true Butterfly! You should treat everyone the same no matter what. I think it's also good that we are aware of other abilties so we watch what say before we say it. Everyone is different in this world so it's only fair to respect other people. Have to think how lucky we are not to be sat in a wheelchair all our life and arnt able to do anything. Some people have no choice. For our country aswell how lucky we are to have hospitals built for us were if we fell ill or had a leg that there is a chance we will recover but above all we shouldn't judge someone with a disability unless we know what it's like.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ?You describe everyone as having the same chances when actually some people have more chances than others. And with this cheating language of equality deep inequality is allowed to happen much more easily.?

    Hmmm... I'm not sure I believe that. I think it's obvious that someone with a particular condition might have less opportunities than someone without - but I don't think it's necessary to define an entire group of people with this idea. Why label it? I also think the bit in bold is bullshit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I haven't been able to read through everyones comments but I just came across this and being someone with a 'disability' (more than one!) I think it's interesting that this has been bought up!

    I have metal hips after a bi-lateral hip replacement a year ago and I am now on the emergency list for a knee replacement which will be metal on plastic - i'll be very funky inside!

    I think the word 'disability' can be quite negative as like people have said, it's focusing on a person lacking the ability to do specific things. Which is pretty pants! I think it can boil down to an inidividual though at times, if someone with a disability/disabilities focuses on what they can't do all the time, they'll have quite a challenging time and a rather negative time however; if they are positive about things and 'look on the bright side' it's less likely to affect them at all and you'll be surprised to know that they don't even think about the word disability! I can say this as i've been in both positions.

    The word 'Disability' does bring about so many issues like Miss Riot was saying, people assume that if you're not in a wheelchair permanantly or have a visiable, evident, severe disability then you're 'fine' as such. This is totally not the case. I have so many hidden disabilities as well as problems that can be totally okay at times but then flare up - this is when people wonder why you're 'faking' disabilities for money - gets me so angry!!

    But, it's important to me that I focus on what I can do, what I want to do and try and find ways to be able to do things rather than dwell on what I can't - easier said than done at times. For the sake of paperwork, i'm always going to be 'disabled' but that doesn't confine me, it doesn't sumarise who I am and it certainly doesn't mean i'm not just like everyone else - i'm just bionic and special ;) I wouldn't change things, my conditions make me who I am, shape me into the person I am etc blah blah I won't bore you any more!!

    Happy to chat to anyone and everyone about disability and all that comes with it!!!!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    *rach* wrote: »
    I have metal hips after a bi-lateral hip replacement a year ago and I am now on the emergency list for a knee replacement which will be metal on plastic - i'll be very funky inside!

    I think the word 'disability' can be quite negative as like people have said, it's focusing on a person lacking the ability to do specific things. Which is pretty pants! I think it can boil down to an inidividual though at times, if someone with a disability/disabilities focuses on what they can't do all the time, they'll have quite a challenging time and a rather negative time however; if they are positive about things and 'look on the bright side' it's less likely to affect them at all and you'll be surprised to know that they don't even think about the word disability! I can say this as i've been in both positions.

    The word 'Disability' does bring about so many issues like Miss Riot was saying, people assume that if you're not in a wheelchair permanantly or have a visiable, evident, severe disability then you're 'fine' as such. This is totally not the case. I have so many hidden disabilities as well as problems that can be totally okay at times but then flare up - this is when people wonder why you're 'faking' disabilities for money - gets me so angry!!

    But, it's important to me that I focus on what I can do, what I want to do and try and find ways to be able to do things rather than dwell on what I can't - easier said than done at times. For the sake of paperwork, i'm always going to be 'disabled' but that doesn't confine me, it doesn't sumarise who I am and it certainly doesn't mean i'm not just like everyone else - i'm just bionic and special ;) I wouldn't change things, my conditions make me who I am, shape me into the person I am etc blah blah I won't bore you any more!!

    Very well said indeed, Rach. :) As usual. I have a stutter, and I bet there's some people out there that would consider that a disability. I know if someone said that to me I'd probably get pretty pissed off. Even IF someone is significantly less physically able to do things - defining them by that certainly won't do them any favours. It kinda seems like the human race takes any chance to feel superior to things and jumps on it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    MikeS wrote: »
    I have a stutter

    You're still ace!!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    *rach* wrote: »
    You're still ace!!

    :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I think people just see disabled as a full time wheelchair user and that's it.

    This is something that really frustrates me. Along with some people thinking that if you're young, you can't possibly be disabled either.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Tell me about it! People assume I'm paralysed from the waist down because I use an electric wheelchair (rather than the fact that I just don't have the stamina an it's too painful to get myself everywhere in a manual chair or walk with my stick.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is quite interesting. Do you think that some people out there genuinely do play/abuse the system?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Of course they do. I've been accused of it, because I walk... Yet, the person who accused me of abusing the system claims to be so disabled he can't walk, yet walks...

    I was once accused of stealing my bus pass. I am sight impaired; but unless you look ridiculously closely, you can't see anything wrong with my eyes. But you also can't tell what I can and can't see.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Melian wrote: »
    Of course they do. I've been accused of it, because I walk... Yet, the person who accused me of abusing the system claims to be so disabled he can't walk, yet walks...

    I was once accused of stealing my bus pass. I am sight impaired; but unless you look ridiculously closely, you can't see anything wrong with my eyes. But you also can't tell what I can and can't see.

    Hmmm, yeah. That's the thing about so many 'disabilities' out there, you can't see them at a glance. I guess going back to the point about the stereotype of someone disabled being in a wheelchair full time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I prefer the term "neurodiverse" in respect to my so called learning difficulties and the way I communicate. I see my bipolar as a disability though, in that I view society as disabling me, rather than me having some kind of responsibility, or inability to tow my own weight and get along.

    If I had easier access to health care, a supportive employer, could afford to work less hours and didn't experience prejudice off people for who I am, I would find my bipolar WAY more manageable... And in a lot of ways I do manage it well. I have had a breakdown in my previous job, but this one (despite being nights for minimum wage) ain't too stressful... I'm doing a Masters, though because I work I can't access mental health support... I get support at university, though when I finish, I'm kinda worried about getting a supportive job afterwards because my experience has been a lot of places don't want to employ people who don't fit a certain neurological framework.
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