Have you ever realized the privilege of walking?
Think about it, if you are a able bodied person (have the ability of complete motor function without difficulty), you do not have to worry about waiting for the side walk to slope down in order for you to cross the street. The slope down in a sidewalk is called a curb cut because literally there is no curb here to allow people who use wheelchairs to ease down onto the road.
Here is a challenge, or rather a social experiment:
- Next time you are walking consider the ease in which you are able to walk.
- Consider the cracks in the side walk and what a person in a wheel chair or scooter may experience. Think about the bumpy ride and the ailments that come with an unpredictable and uneven pavement. Think about how you may never have to worry about that.
- Think about how easy it is for you to step down from the curb while others have to wait until the end of the sidewalk.
- Then start waiting until the end of the sidewalk. Feel the difference.
- Be considerate to people and focus on what they can do.
Remember that even though someone may be confined to a wheel chair does not mean they are incapable of living life or that they are living life to a lesser degree. All it means is that they are living it in a different way.
If you have the understanding that people with disabilities are just living with different means then you must also understand that it is people with disabilities not disabled people. Using this language already limits what you think they can do and who they are as a person because you chose to list there disability first. Therefore it is more appropriate and polite to say people with disabilities. This is called people first language.
This is something I feel strongly about and am sure I will continue to reference it. The common denominator is that we are all human and sure we may be different, able-bodied or not, but we are all people and that is more important to recognize then someones limitations. Especially since they can be living a fuller life because the truth is they are more likely capable for a whole lot more than you are giving them credit for.
Lastly, it is important to recognize that with aging comes challenges and may cause people to be less able-bodied. This is not a determined truth for everyone but you also don’t know what can happen tomorrow. For all I know I can be in a car accident tomorrow that will confine me to a wheel chair for the rest of my life. Therefore the point is that all individuals who are able-bodied are actually temporarily able-bodied.