Whether you have been disabled your entire life or developed a disability as an adult, you likely view life from a different perspective than Houston’s general population. Things about life that most people do not notice are quite obvious to you. Many of these things have to do with how people without disabilities treat those who do, and the challenges disabled people face trying to use the buildings and services that are supposed to be available to everyone.
Here are four facts about life as a disabled person that few non-disabled people understand.
No disability is ‘better’ or ‘worse’
The word disability refers to several conditions: physical, intellectual, learning and mental. In many ways, society deems physical and intellectual disabilities to be more “real” than mental illness or learning disabilities. People whose conditions are not visible or immediately apparent often get accused of faking or exaggerating their disabilities.
People with disabilities deserve respect
Most disabled people want to be treated the same as everyone else. In other words, if they are adults, they should be spoken to like adults, not talked down to. They should not be abused or treated as if they are unable to have at least some control over their lives.
Other people can be as challenging as the disability itself
Physical, intellectual and mental conditions can make life difficult. But so can prejudice and systemic failures to accommodate disabilities.
Disabled people want to be seen as individuals
Too many people cannot see beyond a person’s wheelchair or other signs of disability. They do not see the person for who they are as an individual — their personalities, hopes, fears, talents and faults. Nobody likes feeling invisible.
Financial help for people who cannot work
A disability that forces you to stop working can have a severe impact on your household income. To see if you qualify for Social Security Disability payments, consult an attorney who practices SSD law in your area.