Let's Talk About Disability
Expanding our parameters of normalcy is the first step in addressing the stigma surrounding disability. What can we do to negate the stigmas society has placed on us, and how can we shift our thinking to view disability in non-stigmatized light?
Disability Only Exists in the Environment it is Perceived in
Dr. Shannon Wooden, who teaches Disability Studies at Missouri State University, discusses how it is not the body that is disabled, but rather the environment in which the body exists that is disabling.
There's Always an Opportunity for Discussion
Derrick Duncan, who uses a wheelchair, has had an overall positive experience since his disabling skateboarding injury. He credits his support system for this, but also his attitude. Derrick takes every opportunity he can to educate those around him on his perspective.
What is Stigma, and How Can We Work Against it?
Dr. Wooden continues her thoughts on disability, specifically focusing on where this stigma comes from, and how we can reverse our ways of thinking.
The Perspective of a Parent
David Toll's son, Nick, was diagnosed with myotonic muscular dystrophy and a mental delay. David talks about his experience with disability from the perspective of a father. He believes one of the largest factors contributing to the stigma surrounding disability is the habit of judging people before you make an effort to know them.
Society has taught us standards of what to deem "normal." How can we unlearn this way of thinking? Recognize your explicit and implicit biases and start conversations. Spend time one-on-one with people, and realize we are alike in more ways than we are different.