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We might argue over how to talk about disability but it’s a debate worth having – Metro

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger

We might argue over how to talk about disability but it’s a debate worth having – Metro

When I say ‘able-bodied’, what springs to mind? 

Do you think of me?  

Probably not, since I am a full-time wheelchair user with Brittle Bones – a genetic condition that means my bones are fragile and easily broken. 

Yet in my adapted flat in London, I don’t have a disability. 

Sure, I still have my impairment – you can plonk me anywhere, even on the moon, and it won’t disappear – but with adaptations such as a wet room, lowered work surfaces, and automatic doors and windows, I’m able to live independently. 

I only become disabled when I leave my front door and there is no dropped curb for my wheelchair to move across, leaving me stranded. 

Does this mean that, within my flat, I might be considered able-bodied?

You can read the full article here: We might argue over how to talk about disability but it’s a debate worth having – Metro

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
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Replies

  • OxonladyOxonlady Member Posts: 298 Pioneering
    Someone once described me as a "disabled artist". I had to think really hard about this. The person who said it did so with good intentions, in that she believed that disabled adults and children could derive hope from my artwork and know that they too, could achieve something worthwhile. I understood this but, on the other hand, my artwork is the only activity that transcends my disabilities and makes me feel not only "able-bodied" but fully alive! So overall, I've decided not to describe myself as a "disabled artist". I can see though how this issue could spark a debate! 
  • katho31katho31 Member - under moderation Posts: 694 Pioneering
    Its a debate that really does need to be had, i think maybe the choice of wording is extremely important, ie, 'artist' who wants to involve, help, motivate people who have an impairment? sorry, if this isnt appropriate, but debate we must  :)
  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 656 Pioneering
    Please mods do you think it would be an idea if these sort of disability related general publications or broadcasts etc. could be collated in a sticky, or otherwise left as a reference, since they are not specific to one person, and not likely to go out of date, nor likely to be stumbled upon by sheer chance frpm a user browsing through Scope?

    P.s. I just referenced bbc and Times items in a new thread.
  • OxonladyOxonlady Member Posts: 298 Pioneering
    Katho31, Hi, my artwork is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, irrespective of their abilities, gender, ethnicity, or any other status!
    The term "disabled artist" refers to my disabilities not to those who may view my work, therefore it is my personal choice not to have it applied to me when others refer to me.
    It does not mean that there is anything wrong with the phrase "disabled artist". Alison Lapper, for instance, is always described as a disabled artist, as are many of the foot and mouth artists. Their work is wonderful. I just don't feel comfortable with using this term for myself. I think it has to be an individual choice.
    If anyone asked me about my life I would not deny that I'm disabled, it's nothing to be ashamed of. I see myself first and foremost as an artist who happens to be disabled. Unfortunately, I'm also overweight due to lack of mobility and steroid use. I would never describe myself as "an overweight artist" though and I hope that no one else would! None of these external characteristics define my inner artist! 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,946 Scope community team
    newborn said:
    Please mods do you think it would be an idea if these sort of disability related general publications or broadcasts etc. could be collated in a sticky, or otherwise left as a reference, since they are not specific to one person, and not likely to go out of date, nor likely to be stumbled upon by sheer chance frpm a user browsing through Scope?

    P.s. I just referenced bbc and Times items in a new thread.
    That's a great idea @newborn and something we'll look into. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

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