5 hilarious assumptions about disabled folk

G’day my friends and welcome to another blog! I honestly feel like I only put out a blog like yesterday!

Anyway, how many of you have watched the SBS show ‘What Australia Thinks About..?’. I caught up on the first episode last night featuring the man, the myth, the legend that is Kurt Fearnley. Wow is all I can say! The episode talked all about people’s experiences in the community as a disabled person, and the crazy assumptions people have about us.

I was a mix of emotions! I laughed, I was angry, I clapped in agreement and was sad. There are so many things in society that could do with a little spring clean! Get what I did there??

There were many things that I took out of this episode that I thought I would share with you! Especially a part where people were asked to talk about a photo of a disabled person and tried to figure out what they do with their lives. The answers were both funny and shocking.

So let’s jump straight in shall we!!

Assumption 1: Disability is Unfortunate.

one of the many assumptions about disability life: the picture is black and white. A wheelchair is by itself in an old room with patterned curtains on the windows and old furnishings.
Photo by Patrick De Boeck from Pexels

I am sorry what? This first assumption comes straight from a strapping bloke in the episode that said a disabled woman’s disability was ‘unfortunate’. She is a advocate for refugees, and disabled rights….. I wouldn’t say her disability is unfortunate and neither would she.

To be honest there is nothing unfortunate about it. It is life. She used her ‘unfortunate circumstance’ (uh I cringe writing that) to her benefit, and has a pretty good life!

I have people say to me as well that I am unfortunate to be ‘landed’ with a disease. Nope not unfortunate, I would say blessed because of what this condition has given me in terms of experiences!

The only thing I would ever say is unfortunate is a 2-point loss in a grand final, or dropping your wedding ring down the sink! (Whether that one is unfortunate is open for interpretation).

Assumption 2: going to a letter box is so inspirational.

the picture is a diagram which reads: ability to hyper focus, positive, and problem solver
Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels

This word… Inspirational…. I have a love hate relationship with it. Don’t get me wrong, in the right context is gives me a healthy ego boost. But it gets so tiring when you hear it for silly little things.

Kurt summarised this so well that I was pretty much giving him a standing ovation! Use this word in the wrong way and you run the risk of sounding like you are talking down to a disabled person and treating them like a kid.

Going about daily life is no inspiration. Once again it is called life. You get up, go to the bathroom, get dressed, have food, and get on with the day. 

What is inspirational is Para athletes, disabled people who land an executive job, or even decide to hold a TED talk on going parachuting out of a plane!

One person said it so well; she was told when she landed a full time job or working that she was inspirational. She said back ‘would you say to your neighbour who works full-time they are inspirational? No. Why? Because you wouldn’t want to look like an idiot and what to maintain some dignity.

Assumption 3: We can do a lot more than volunteer.

a group of people in a meeting with laptops open on a desk. Strategy papers are scattered all around the desk next to cups of coffee
Photo by fauxels from Pexels

Now this I had the laugh at! The amount of people on the program who said most of the disabled people look like they would probably volunteer in some capacity.. Not one said they person could have a job.

I have volunteered most of my life from as young as 10. I loved helping people out. However, people easily assume that if you are disabled you can only volunteer because we wouldn’t be cut out to work in a notable position, or it would be best that we stay on the Pension.

I wonder why people  just assume that we are only cut out for volunteering? Maybe it is because they are too scared that we will do a better job in their role perhaps that they are trying to save them selves? Ohhhhh look out people we are coming for you *insert zombie noise here.

Assumption 4: the stares and glares are totally cool.

an owl with orange eyes flying towards to camera.
yes, this is what you all look like..

The one thing that I understood more than anything in that program was the glares and laughs people had when someone disabled went past them.

Two women who had dwarfism walked past a group of girls, the girls turned and looked at them and then turned to each other and laughed. Trust me I got that a lot growing up. But I also got the stares.

Perhaps if I was some celebrity, the stares would be welcomed, but nope not at all. I often worry that I have something stuck on my butt or in my teeth when people stare at me.

Like the ladies said, there are two types of stares; an inquisitive one, and an outright glare.

I have had both. I have even had an elderly lady stop what she was doing and stared at me.. Even when I had already walked past her, she turn around and kept watching.. yeah I tad freaky. No, I am not her, and yes I am disabled thanks for noticing! Have a good day!

Assumption 5: We are out to get you! Runaway!

a group with their backs to the camera. their arms are around each other, looking at the sunset
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

The final one ties in well to my last point! We are not scary, you don’t need to run away from us.

On the program some bloke with Cerebral Palsy was simply trying to ask for directions, and the amount of people running from him was so sad and horrible to watch.

Don’t worry we don’t want to steal your money or whatever you think we want to do. We simply are just like you! Lost and in need of some direction! Is that so bad?

We are just like you and want to be treated like you would treat a friend or family member; with respect! We aren’t some alien who is going to eat your brains for dinner. We want the same things in life and just want a chance to prove ourselves that we are worthy of acceptance. We are more than a token every 4 years in the Paralympics. Let me ask you this; will you stop and help a disabled person? Will you employ us? Will you give us a go?



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