One of my personal bug bears as a disabled person is being automatically put in a “stereotype box”. What I mean is, as soon as somebody meets me for the first time (at least 80% of people) they unknowingly fall into their own stereotype. The bending down talking to you real slow is a good one. “Aaarrre- youuu- oookkkk” I hear, with my completely functioning face. My personal favourite is the high volumed vocals as they assume you’re deaf! I just laugh to myself thinking, who are you taking to? It’s a toss up between a toddler and my 90 year old neighbour! There literally is no inbetween. Hey, I gotta get my kicks from somewhere, right?
My point is, when a person hears the word “disabled” they think of all the negative connnotations, which might seem trivial to some but it’s important to show the word “disability” in the correct light! Questions wondered tend to be “can they drink alcohol?” “Can they have relationships?” “Will they be able to participate like everybody else?” These are just a few; I could go on all day but then I’d loose readers through boredom because there are so many!
To reassure parents and other readers, I’ll answer the questions. Yes disabled people can drink alcohol (if they are of legal age whether it be 18 or 21) so long as they have full mental capacity to know what they are doing and not on any prescribed medications that don’t permit alcohol. I always say, even though I am disabled I have the same organs and most likely will eventually die just the same as everybody else! Shocker, I know.
Yes disabled people can have relationships and children just like able bodied people. We just require additional support. By this I mean I would need someone to get up and do night feeds (when I’m a parent) every night, that’s all. I’m just kidding- Possibly. We just need support in place so we can live the exact life as an able bodied person.
Another stereotype is if you have a disability, your full brain activity is not that of an able bodied person *cough cough* bachelors degree *cough cough*. People have a tendency to talk to my careers instead of me because they think I can’t hold a conversation. Disabled people, me included have the same level of intelligence as the next person! We are underestimated. I say that people with disabilities are intelligent not just by academia but by common sense and are very driven to prove every stereotype and society wrong!
Whatever time a disability enters your world, whether it be as a child or through an event or situation later in life, just ignore the stereotypes and say, SOD you! For everyone that says you can’t, you tell them “yes I can and yes I will”. Do it bigger, better! If you are a parent of a disabled child, my best suggestion would be do what my parents did and bring them up as able bodied as possible, meaning obviously make adaptations wherever is required but in their behaviour and personality. Bring them up as you originally planned when you thought they were going to be able bodied so that they will grow up as I have. Let’s prove these stereotype wrong and achieve everything we want and more!