Screen Readers Skip to Content
Tweet Facebook Buffer

The Thin Line Between Disabled and Abled

Author: Keystone Human Services : Contact: keystonehumanservices.org

Published: 2016-06-27

Synopsis and Key Points:

We enter the world almost completely disabled, and many of us will become so again in our later years.

Main Digest

One of the challenges that the disability rights movement has put before us all is to see disability in the context of how society has created a somewhat arbitrary "line" between 'disabled' and 'abled'.

We have been urged to see disability as a natural part of the human condition, with all people falling along that continuum at different places throughout life. For example, we enter the world almost completely disabled, and many of us will become so again in our later years. In between, we all experience varying degrees of ability and disability, which really enters into a simple discussion of how much support do we need at a given time to negotiate the world.

To me, this gives a more satisfying way to think about disability and ability, and also helps undo some of the medical model formation that trains professionals (and everyone) that there are two distinct types of people - 'us' (the helpers and so-called non-disabled people) and 'them' (the disabled people themselves).

It was an uncomfortable way for me to structure my thinking at first, but over time I have come to appreciate it a great deal.

It is much more nuanced and real to me.

Fitting this in into our practice as professionals is very hard, though, because much of the traditional thinking around disability is at odds with this in significant ways. In fact, it seems as though many professionals find it threatening.

Here in India, medical model thinking is an strongly embedded notion that is just now being challenged by those fighting for the cause of disability rights.

As has happened in many other places, this strong advocacy is led by people with physical disability, and is informed by historical civil rights movements all over the world.

There is a long way to travel for people with developmental and psycho-social disability, as there is for many other groups of marginalized and oppressed people.

Mindsets run deep, but the conversation is moving, and the lines that separate people are a little less clear.

Related Documents


Important:

Disabled World is strictly a news and information website provided for general informational purpose only and does not constitute medical advice. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World.

Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.