Disability Myths vs. Disability Realities

By Tracy Williams, Tracy's Plate

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 1 in 4 Americans have a disability. Many people living with disabilities may consider life to be a mix of challenges and blessings. The biggest challenge may be debunking various myths in society that non-disabled people might believe about the disability community.

1. Myth: Everyone living with a disability is brave or courageous.

Truth: This must be the biggest myth believed about the disability community. Everyone deserves to go about their day, running typical errands without experiencing fake admiration. People are not brave or courageous because they get out of bed in the morning and handle their day while having a disability. There is a caveat though. People living with a disability may be considered an inspiration for running their own business, overcoming family tragedies or triumphing above abusive situations.

Everyone living with a disability is brave or courageous.

2. Myth: People with disabilities are most comfortable with only socializing with peers with disabilities.

Truth: Not all people want to hang out with only each other. Friendships are based on personality traits, hobbies and interests. People living with disabilities just want their disability or accessibility needs factored into every social invite they may receive though.

3. Myth: People who apply and receive disability benefits are lazy.

Truth: Employment opportunities may be difficult to find for the disability community. Chronic conditions or disabilities could be challenging to deal with, especially with multiple medical appointments. Most people with physical disabilities cannot do many jobs that include physical labor. Some white-collar employers have preconceived notions of potential employees who they interview when people have any type of disability. Some people need to receive disability benefits to receive medical coverage from the government. Most people who do receive benefits do get in public speaking, paid advocacy work as well as freelance writing.

Myth: People who apply and receive disability benefits are lazy.

4. Myth: People with a physical disability should not go to college if they will experience discrimination in the job market

Truth: Most college degrees will allow people to learn marketable skills even with a physical disability. Some people use their marketable skills as advocates or freelance writers. Not everyone needs to be successful by getting a full-time or part-time traditional job.

5. Myth: All people with speech impediments or speech differences also have an intellectual disability.

Truth: Intelligent people have a stutter. Some people have a speech difference because of nerve or muscle damage. Others have a lisp. Intelligent people may have a speech fluency disorder due to the speed at which certain individuals speak.

6. Myth: Disabled people must feel confined by their orthotics, mobility devices or wheelchair.

Truth: People with disabilities are not helpless. The adaptive technology we use gives us freedom to be part of our local community or town. Adaptive technology provides inclusion. Everyone is at their own stage of acceptance of their own disability.

Myth: People who apply and receive disability benefits are lazy.

Everyone should work together on debunking myths about the disability community. We all live our own lives. Life is never a competition. It is full of teaching moments. We all live life at our own speed.


About the Author:

Tracy Williams had her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Dominican University. She is a public speaker, freelance writer, food access advocate and disability advocate. She has cerebral palsy and other chronic conditions. She has used a variety of mobility devices as well as orthotics. You can connect with her on www.tracysplate.com.

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