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How People Who Are Disabled Can Fix Us

Published: 2022-06-12
Author: Kathleen M. Cleaver | Contact: Disabled World (
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
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Synopsis: Kathleen M. Cleaver writes regarding the current state of turmoil in the world today and how disabled people may be able to teach us to fix ourselves. There are valuable lessons people who are disabled can teach us about how to live together peacefully. Are there important lessons people who are disabled can teach us? Can they help us "fix" us? I believe there are.


Main Digest


Right now, I feel like our world is in turmoil. The internet is full of hateful language and memes. Mass shootings are on the rise. The wealthy continue to live lavish lives while the middle-class struggle, and the poor barely hang on. The compassion for each other grew during the pandemic seems to have disappeared.

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Scholars, politicians, scientists, and others try to identify why this is happening and what we need to "fix" it. Maybe we need to "fix" us.

I have spent most of my life living with and working, as a mother, sister, and teacher, with people who are disabled. We have learned much about people who are disabled and the adaptations and modifications required to allow them to be fully included in our competitive world. But are we overlooking something? Are there important lessons people who are disabled can teach us? Can they help us "fix" us? I believe there are.

What People Who Are Disabled Can Teach Us

There are valuable lessons people who are disabled can teach us about how to live together peacefully.

A person who is blind cannot see the color of your skin or your appearance. They judge you by your character.

For a deaf person to hear what you are saying, they need to focus on your face and not on their surroundings. In contrast, they can close their eyes to block out hateful speech.

People who are intellectually disabled live lives of compassion, acceptance, and simplicity.

People who are severely physically disabled rely on direct support personnel to assist them in completing daily activities. They can teach us respect and cooperation for our essential workers.

People who have a learning disability can teach us different and creative ways to complete tasks.

People who are diagnosed with autism are honest and non-judgemental.

People who are medically fragile treat daily as a gift.

These are simple lessons that aren't found in books, studies, or political agendas. Through their loss of physical, sensory, or intellectual ability, they are characteristics of people who have found a way to see the beauty, love, and compassion in our world. Maybe we should look to them as our role models. Maybe they can "fix" us!!!

About Kathleen M. Cleaver

Kathleen M. Cleaver holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and the education of children whose primary disability is a visual impairment (TVI). During her thirty-year career as a teacher, Kathleen received the Penn-Del AER Elinor Long Award and the AER Membership Award for her service and contributions to the education of children with visual impairments. She also received the Elizabeth Nolan O’Donnell Achievement Award for years of dedicated service to St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments.

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Cite This Page (APA): Kathleen M. Cleaver. (2022, June 12). How People Who Are Disabled Can Fix Us. Disabled World. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from

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