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Moving from 'Dis'-ability to 'Different'-ability

Ridhima_M Community member Posts: 2 Listener

Thank you Scope for doing such a brilliant work. I have a suggestion, so posting it here in case anyone also wants to comment.

I suggest that we all start calling our friends with special needs as 'differently'-able rather than 'dis'-abled. In my experience, to help people with special needs, an important thing that we as a society need to do is to make them feel an equal part of us by the way we perceive and speak to them. Their needs maybe special just because their abilities are visibly different from majority of people but that does not make them a different part of the society. Words are a powerful medium. We 'dis'-able them by calling them dis-able. It's a 2-way communication. They may have abilities that we may not have; we just need to start understanding, recognising and learning from them too.


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  • bendigedig
    bendigedig Community member Posts: 254 Pioneering
    Hi @Ridhima_M

    I totally apreciate your sentiment.  I recognise the good place that it comes from.

    The spirit of your post is understood by most in the world of "disability".  In fact most Health and Care practitioners practice the exact philosophy that you have proposed.

    Disabled and Disability are, unfortunately technical and somtimes legal terms that our established ruling classes are very comfortable with.  Often for the precise reason that you have identified!  

    Disunity and inequality is far more preferable than an integrated harmonious society.  The Disabled are only one disenfranchised subculture that our leaders seek to keep seperated from the rest of society....There are of course others:-

    • The young
    • The old
    • The sick 
    • Those who suffer with addiction and other mental illness
    • Religious minorities
    • Racial minorities
    • Homosexuals
    • Those with differing politcal ideologies
    • Travelling people
    • Refugees
    Etc etc.

    Essentially, if you are different than the "prescribed norm",  ie.  You are catergorised in some way as being different to how the societal rulers wish you to be then you are of no or little use to them...  For this reason it does not seem reasonable for our leaders to "invest" time and/or resources into those who are "differing from the norm"

    Somtimes this differentiation can be very extreme.... Take Nazi Germany for example...  Most, if not all the groups of society listed above were targeted by the Nazis.  Not too diferently to the way the Tories are doing things!

    Sadly, to our rulers "DISABLED" means just that.  We are lacking the ability to be productive in their regime.  Its not that the huge range of disabilities that exist stop people from living and contributing to society like everybody else......No. We are all very capable of contributing to a. Better, richer more diverse and vibrant creative society with a better share of wealth than they let us all know.

    It just means that we like all the other "target groups". We are a horse that our ruling classes will not be backing in this great race.

    Look around you!   See what our government is doing to all of the peoples listed above in the bullet point list..   Nothing changes! :(   The genius way that they shake off all responsibility for the poor provision for all he above sectors of society is to apportion the blame elsewhere or simply ignore the problem!  Most often short commings are blamed on a lack of money!  LIES, LIES and more damned LIES,

    The vast proportion of society is struggling so hard to get by now that it fails to have the time to even think about those we have a duty of care for. Just remember........ 99% of the worlds wealth is held by 1% of tge worlds population.....  That statistic is not only STAGGERING it is SICK!  Just remember that when you see a bit of baby kissing propaganda or a royal handshake and flowers photo opportunity.

    There must be some real magic at work somwhere in order that these vampires have been able to get away with swindling so many people for soooooo long!

    The Orwellian nightmare is upon us and we've been slipping deeper into it since about 1984!  Welcome to Animal Farm.  You may recall Boxer the Horses heroic efforts to finnish the windmill in the Animal Farm story?  Well look where that landed him...  In the glue factory.

    The point Im making is that unless we all start expecting our ruling classes to TRULLY adopt an aproach to "equality of expectation" for all in society then it really doesnt matter whether people use the term disabled or not.  Societal injustice is one thing,  not many things.  We all need to shake off the apathy and "powerless" mentality and start speaking out.

    We all really need to educate ourselves before it is too late.  If we leave the educating to them then we will be drooling into our geriatric porridge wondering what the hell has just happened! Meanwhile the next generation will be needing to gird itself for even tougher times!  Unless we do somthing about it that is.

    You may think my response is a little over the top?  Well thats okay.  The important thing is that I've said it.  Hopefully people will read it and it may make some sense to them. :)

  • Alex
    Alex Posts: 1,305 Pioneering
    Hi @Ridhima_M,

    Thanks for the suggestion. Scope follows what's called the social model of disability. There's a video of it here:


    It's not about the abilities people have or don't have - as Mik puts it in the video - "I'm disabled by the world around me. If the world was more accessible, I would be less disabled, then I would be left with my impairment...".
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Community member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    Labels are meaningless. "Differently able" sounds like something a PC liberal would come up with so they can feel better about themselves. The universe is not supposed to be fair, deal with it.

    There is only one measure of being "able" and that is independence. Can a person live entirely independently?

    Can you feed, find shelter and thrive without external support, technology or medical treatments? Every other life form can. If you cannot then you are disabled.

    The consequences of being disabled in the rest of animal kingdom are much worse and usually very short-lived.

    I am disabled and the term doesn't upset me as I find it quite accurate.

    I don't agree that the "world disables" a person either. The world
    is the world and it doesn't owe anyone anything. Human society is a
    totally different matter though.

    What does society want to be? Does it want the law of the jungle to return?

    Not adding unnecessary additional barriers is not asking much of society. Expecting society to do anything and everything, even up to "disabling" themselves to make things "fair" is.
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