What’s that then?
We think it is having a physical or mental impairment, like not being able to talk or being autistic, which causes you to experience difficulty and barriers in everyday life.
Some people think it is these barriers which make you disabled … steps to a guy in a wheelchair disables him, not his lack of legs … the restaurant owners prejudices against people with physical impairments, disables them, not their difficulties moving about. Understanding disability like this is called the social model of disability.
Some people don’t like the term disabled, because they feel it means that are somehow lesser than non-disabled people or they are unable do things. Some may prefer to be known as people with disabilities, with the person being put first and the disability after. But others think that this implies that it is the person’s impairment which disables them, so the issue is with them not society; it is not steps that disable but the person’s lack of legs (this is known as the medical model). Others still, like to be known as differently abled, which is self explanatory. Some people feel disability is caused by a mixture of things. The fact is some of these things can be changed and others cannot, so here at the Difference, we’re trying to change the things we can.
Everyone agrees with the term disability though: disability rights, disability politics, disability benefit.
We don’t care what you call yourself, we are just interested in your and our human rights.
Help us make a difference, by telling us your good and bad experiences of disability.