We need to ‘Raise the Bar’ on our expectations of what people with a disability can do.
Strengths not weaknesses. Look at what people can do rather than what they can’t.
Someone is not an inspiration purely because they have a disability and get up in the morning. This is our negative biases towards disability.
I had these same negative biases when I hurt myself at the age of 23. My initial thoughts were that I would rather be dead than live life like this. Can you believe that…. Dead….
Going through this somewhat difficult journey has helped me challenge these negative biases and raise the expectation of what people with a disability can do.
Through personal experience how can someone that has paraplegia or Quadriplegia sit on a disability support pension the rest of their life without even needing to look for work? This is an example of our expectation of what people with a disability can do. We need to raise the bar.
‘Empathy rather than sympathy’ and ‘Exposure’ will help us to raise this bar. Stop feeling sorry for people. Too often I hear ‘oh those poor people’ or ‘you poor thing’. Instead as best you can, put yourself in their shoes. How can we make it easier for these people? How would you like to be treated/communicated to if you were that person? Don’t be scared of making mistakes on this quest to empathise and educate yourself. The best way to learn is from our mistakes rather than sitting back in your comfort zone and doing nothing.
Looking at strengths not weaknesses, Exposure to people with disability (this may feel uncomfortable to start off with), and coming from a place of empathy not sympathy will allow the disability community to live their best lives.