Can We Really Call Them “Disabilities”?

I remember watching an episode of the Oprah show, and I learned of this young man of sixteen with blindness…who developed a system of “clicks” to figure out his surroundings. This intrigued me greatly, because I never heard of such a thing in the human world. It also made me remember a time when I did a blindness exercise in theater arts. We would blindfold ourselves and people outside the blindfold would lead us around to experience the world. My personal partner in the exercise led me into a parked Volkswagen Beetle with a broken light, but I did not get hurt. (No sharp edges, you see.) We even tested to see if we could identify objects we brought from home through our other senses. Guess what? Even if we were not pop cultured, we guessed right every time. The strange thing was, our other senses took over as much as they could to give us a picture of the world. The hard metal feel and smell of keys, the yard that made a doll’s hair, the slightly nubby surface of a basketball – it led us to a good picture of the world, even without sight. Thinking about these things just now reminded me of something: I have been able to get around in the dark somewhat better than other members of my family, due to autism’s inability to filter out unimportant sensations. I have knocked over my share of trays, but I have yet to find a coffee table with my shin. I can also The autistic experience of their environs is usually cluttered with sound, cluttered with sights, cluttered with feelings. Here is an example: Jimmy Fallon on the television talking with his guest, the feel of the keys, the sounds of the tapping on the keyboard-I could go on about this environ if I did not shut out most of it by only typing by laptop light. I digress a bit, but some disability can be turned into an extra ability with practice and coordination. Sign language is very fast for my eyes; I do not know how someone who speaks it can fly their hands around like that. Watching sign language scenes from “Switched at Birth” leaves me depending on the subtitles-a LOT. So, who is up for a comment or two? How do those with “disabilities” in your life surprise you? So many people surprise me every day. Maybe that’s why they try to call it different ability.


Living with “disability” is more like Daredevil than a sad sack story. Sure, they cannot do this, but they have really sharp that in order to make up for it.


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Autistic woman in her 40s, bringing attention to issues that affect her and her kind.

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