Two Harsh Observations about Disability

Nov 24, 2014 | Disability

You will be judged more harshly than someone without a disability, particularly if you lose things that give you value in this society.  As long as you have things a normal person is expected to have like a job and a place you will be tolerated.  Lose these things however and you will be judged more harshly.  A person without a disability who doesn’t have a job will often be given more grace, basically “he’ll be back on his feet in a matter of time”.  Someone with a disability will not.  People will assume you are on the government dole (often true as one had to claim disability to get badly needed health insurance, even now with Obamacare you need to do this in the states that didn’t expand Medicaid).  People are smart.  They use conjecture to ascertain others’ future and after taking that action decide whether that person is worth engaging.  A bitter irony is in the case of someone with a disability part of the reason people are rejecting is they assume the person won’t get a job because of the workplace based prejudice the rejectors themselves often perpetrate.

If you have a visible disability it’s your responsibility to make others comfortable with it.  With a visible disability your every interaction with the world is an incursion.  Your disability makes others in the room uncomfortable and it is incumbent upon you to put them at ease.  My little brother actually brought this to my attention when he hurt his hand a couple of years ago.  The hand looked awkward while it was healing (he called it an alien baby hand though I couldn’t tell anything was wrong). Now my little brother has good social skills so has no problem scoping out the room and finding a fitting way to put the people in the room at ease with this hand.  Unfortunately as someone on the autistic spectrum I do not have this skill.  When I was a child people were more direct about my disability (very thick glasses) so I could clear the air and then they were fine with it.  As an adult people are more obtuse, without the directness I’m lost—and I lose.


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