We all encounter all kinds of individuals every day. People with disabilities regrettably face discrimination and obstacles in life. It is necessary to understand common myths and misconceptions about persons with disabilities. Further, educating the general public on these myths and misconceptions can help ease these obstacles and minimize discrimination. For others, such misconceptions are not maliciously made. Hence, substituting this disabled image with a real idea may make a notable difference in how we take people with disabilities.
In this respect, here are the five most common myths and misconceptions regarding people with disabilities nowadays. Please read on to understand them:
1. If You Use a Wheelchair, You're Unable to Walk
“All disabled people use wheelchairs.” Times have changed, and the ludicrous confusion is less common now. That is a slightly more complex version of the traditionally famous one. But that didn’t deter someone in a wheelchair from walking. The reality is that many people in wheelchairs and those who use mobile devices will usually go unassisted, but maybe not for longer or continuous times. Various conditions can require people to use a wheelchair, ranging from multiple sclerosis to persistent obstructing pulmonary diseases. Furthermore, in Kenya, only 8% of people with disabilities use wheelchairs, and hence this misconception misunderstands how complicated and extensive it is to be disabled.
2. Saying “Disabled” Offends someone
The use of the term “disabled” is crucial when thinking about disability — it is not appropriate to address the subject in other ways. From the assumption that everyone is “brave” since they live a comfortable life, the word disabled can make some people get offended. Many people are misguided to think they should not bother to learn since there are many means to offend people. There are two ways of addressing people with disabilities — first language identity or first language identity. It doesn’t take a lot of time to understand each other. Hence, knowing how you communicate and how you meet goes a long way. Briefly, first language identity means “a disabled person,” while the first language means “a person with a disability.” Some choose one way, and others prefer the other way around. Sensitizing is the most important thing here and noting what somebody’s preference is. Many assume that the first language is the preferred choice, but it is not always the case. The social model of disability is a standard mode of understanding about disability. This model does not consider individuals identified as disabled people to be disabled because of their deficiencies but because of society’s lack of understanding. Somebody’s not disabled because they can’t walk for a given period – you’re disabled because some train stations lack step-free entry. It is a psychological disability created by society, but because of medical reasons. Because of that, disability is sometimes considered part of someone’s personality — it will somehow lose a portion of its existence as an individual uses the first language. Disability is not what people carry—it is part of where and who they’re. We should also be cautious with words instead of rejecting one way or the other. Anything you want to do, you need to be calm and rational, and know-how appropriates someone else is likely to get offended.
3. Only People Who Are Mobility-Related Disabilities May Get a Blue Badge
This myth is commonly used in popular culture — in-joke, TV shows, etc. This myth is an apparent sensitive issue, and it can be alarming for the receiver when someone loses his temper over something like humdrum like their parking space. Many individuals who attack others without understanding that they are carrying a Blue Badge assume they’ll do the right thing. They think the best way to explain lousy conduct is to threaten somebody with an invisible impairment (and presumably to be targeting them). The Blue Badge is valid for a wide range of conditions. There are various reasons why someone can park in a disabled space. It can range from lung disease to chronic fatigue. It can also be when someone is picking or dropping off a person who has a blue badge and can still be misplaced and destructive if the abuse is aimed at anyone who has no blue badge themselves. The parking enforcement authorities or parking personnel must leave the police to deal with this matter.
4. Assistive Innovations Doesn’t Work/Exists
It’s a unique phrase, but so many are familiar with it. Let’s assume that somebody sees a person wearing a hearing aid. Do you think they might feel the need to talk loudly? It is an experience that so many individuals have. It is a disability issue that is frustrating and illogical. When you speak loudly, you don’t realize that you need to stop a person from raising his voice! You know! The same applies to all forms of supportive technology. A whole host of smart technology can get used to mitigate those problems or obstacles faced by anyone but is often used in the entire contrary way. Part of this issue begins and ends with people who don’t want to do it wrong. It is a frustrating misconception.
5. People with Disabilities Can’t Be In a Relationship
It is a particularly troubling and widespread misunderstanding. Although it seems nearly absurd to mention it as a relevant point for debate, there exists misunderstanding in romance for people with disabilities. The probability of relationships with individuals living with disabilities is not generally what people expect. It lacks empathy to have a desire in romantic or even sexual relation towards those with a disability. The lack of comprehension or respect is highly detrimental. Such a sensation in society, in turn, may make the experience of sexual or romantic relationships even more complicated for many people with disabilities. For disabled people, these myths’ effects are profoundly for those who are unaware of their sexual or romantic life. Another disturbingly common idea is that people with a disability wish only to date other people with disabilities or that they should only date those with similar disabilities. Also — and even more damaging — is the belief that disabled people are not interested in sex.
The above-discussed myths and misconceptions can negatively affect people living with disabilities.
In order to create a pleasant society for people with disabilities, society should be educated on how to debunk the above myths.