NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE OR PHYSICAL Misconceptions:
You can always “tell” when someone is physically affected by disability.
Being disabled is a “look” and all disabilities are visible.
All disabled folks “look sick.”
All disabilities must be physical to be “accepted” or acknowledged.
Disabilities present in many different ways. Invisible disabilities exist, are valid, and merit help just like physical disabilities do.
Do not abuse mental illness labels. Stop using words like “schizo” or “bipolar” or “OCD” as insults or ways to describe negative behavior unless you are truly discussing mental illness.
DISABILITYISNOTALWAYSANIDENTITY Some folks feel that being disabled is inextricable to their identities. Some do not. Mirror the language they use for themselves, or ask if you are unsure.③
FOLKS WITH DISABILITIES ARE NOT “FAKING IT”
FOLKS WITH DISABILITIES DON’T NEED YOUR PITY OR YOUR STARES
FOLKS WITH DISABILITIES EXPERICENCEINTERSECTIONALITY, TOO
THE ADA DID NOT ELIMINATE INSTITUTIONAL ABLEISM
The ADA – The Americans with Disabilities Act – was signed into law 30 years ago by George H. W. Bush. The ADA aimed to ensure equal access in public spaces and end discrimination in the workplace through the application of a broad set of (physical) accessibility standards, addressing of the concept of “reasonable accommodations,” and establishment of both accessibility and accommodation are civil rights.However, many folks with disabilities still encounter structural and institutional ableism throughout the country. If someone with a disability tells you they have experienced ableism, don’t tell them they haven’t. Listen and be supportive instead.
CURIOSITY ALONE IS NOTALWAYS A SUFFICIENT REASON TO ASK SOMEONE A QUESTION All emotions & feelings are valid; all actions are not! That is, you can absolutely FEEL curious but you also must be mindful of how you act with that curiosity and where you direct it. Curiosity is valid. Asking someone an invasive or invalidating question might not be, regardless of your intent. Use other resources to educate yourself.
OTHER MISCONCEPTIONS Misconceptions:
“We can’t have sex. We have no friends. We are less intelligent.”
“Oh you’re so sweet and innocent.”
Medical and health care professionals are always the saviors of folks with disabilities. Corrections:
Don’t assume what someone with disabilities can or cannot do. Remember that someone else’s sex life is none of your business and most certainly should NOT be your opening question.