Theoryon How to Think about Disability
Disability results due to a particular impairment that can bephysical, intellectual, cognitive, sensory, mental, and developmentalleading to a restriction of an individual’s ability to engage inactivities considered “normal” in an ideal society. According toBritain’s Disability Discrimination Act, a physically challengedperson is
“anyone with a physical or mental impairment, which has asubstantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carryout normal day-to-day activities”
Despite the knowledge that prevails regarding the term “disability”,individuals have failed when it comes to the perception they shouldhave about the subject. It is essential to have a set of theoriesthat seek to guide on how best individuals can view the concept ofdisability without sounding discriminative.
People must learn to think of disability as a normal occurrence thatshould not warrant mistreatment towards individuals suffering from agiven form of impairment. Individuals should consider disability as amedical condition, and those affected have no control over it(Goodley 8). It is essential that people change their perception onhow they think about disabled persons. They should understand thatdeveloping a negative attitude toward the disabled people is unfairsince other individuals suffering from various illnesses do notreceive a similar treatment. Disabled people should not be blamed forthe condition since it was not their mistake to have the impairment.A similar scenario is presented in the film “My Left Foot” wherethe disabled person is blamed for the problems in the family
“there he was, lying’ at the bottom of the stairs like amoron” and “He is a terrible cross to the poor woman”. (Ian)
Typically, being a medical condition, it would not be justified toconsider disability as an issue, rather focus on provision of supportto those suffering from the same. If people embrace disability as anormal condition, it would be possible to eliminate the prejudicethat has been directed toward the disabled individuals.
Further, it is fundamental that people adopt positive thoughts ofmorality when it comes to thinking about disability. As identified,disability has been determined to bring shame to the individual andthe family that they come from. Through the adoption of moral deeds,it would be possible for individuals to learn how they can changetheir perception of individuals suffering from a given disability(Goodley 9). Virtue ethics identifies the significance of peopleacting in the right way. Through the application of the same line ofthought, it would be possible for people to acknowledge thatdisability is not an issue that warrants the harsh treatment. Forexample, people assume that it is the duty of the family members toget to learn on how to address the cause of the disability thatexists amongst one of theirs.
“I am convinced that we do more harm by avoiding the issue thanby using time and timing to sit, listen and share” (Wilson, andLewiecki-Wilson)
What many fail to consider is the fact that disability is purely amedical condition that negates the application of a similar approachto deal with the issue. The moral implications of disability for thefamily members is that they would be ashamed if one of theirs wassuffering from the condition. A change in the mindset of peopleregarding how they should think about disability would be helpful inovercoming the adverse attitude that exists regarding the condition.
“…but there is no mistaking an acceptance of a disability thatincludes the hope that maybe this year I won’t have an episode thatwill take four months of living well away from me..” (Wilson,and Lewiecki-Wilson)
If people embrace the idea of doing things in the right way, ashighlighted under virtue ethics, they would be instrumental insupporting the disabled person and their family in dealing with thepsychological torment arising from the issue. The decision to applypositive thinking about disability would help in dealing with thenegative attitude towards the disabled. It is unfortunate that normalsegregate those who are disabled (Hawkins)
People should start thinking of the possible interventions that existfor people suffering from a particular disability. It is unfortunatethat all those having a preformed adverse attitude toward disabilitydo so out of the ignorance that there is no possible intervention tobe employed in dealing with the condition. However, through theapplication of spiritual and medical interventions, it would bepossible to overcome the prejudice people have regarding disability.Further, it is essential to consider that professional services existfor such individuals where trained personnel can help in the processof healing of the patients. People need to learn that having adoptedthe thoughts that interventions are available for people sufferingfrom a given disabled condition, it would be possible to get alongwith them. An understanding of the presence of interventions wouldhelp people learn how they can view disability. Most of those with anadverse attitude about disability do so because of the misconceptionthat there is no cure or feasible intervention that can be employedto help in dealing with the problem. However, people must get tolearn that there are interventions that can be employed with the aimof finding meaning and purpose for the particular individualsuffering from a disability. After individuals have learnt of thepossibility of employing identified interventions to deal with thecondition, it would be possible to find out how to change theirthoughts on the issue. Individuals have the misconception that once aparticular person has been identified as being disabled, theirability to execute various routine tasks become limited. However, ifindividuals embrace the idea of availability of interventions thatcan be employed to deal with the problem, it would be an opportunityto change the overall perspective regarding disability.
People should start thinking of the contributions that have been madeby disabled individuals in various fields such as literature, arts,performance and music. Those who consider disability as a challengethat hinders one from executing a particular tasks should think aboutthe flourishing pieces of art that have been made by disabled people.Some of those having physical impairments have been able to overcomethe change in their physique to come up with the best drawings. It isessential that an environment be created for persons suffering from agiven disability to enable them explore their talents andcapabilities. It would be possible to develop a positive attitudetoward persons suffering from a particular disability. The immensecontributions of disabled people in various fields of art is areflection of the fact that the individuals have what it takes to fitin the society. It is crucial that people get to acknowledge theefforts made by disabled people and work toward supporting them. Thecontributions made by such persons in various fields confirms thatthey are not incapacitated.
“And culturally, disabled people have contributed immeasurablyin the areas of arts, literature, music and performance” (Goodley)
If people were to adopt such thoughts, it would change their overallperception of disability.
Overall, persons with disabilities continue to receive prejudicialtreatment in the society. People have failed to create an environmentthat acknowledges fair treatment for physically challenged persons.It is fundamental that individuals get to understand that disabilityis a normal occurrence and should not be viewed as an incapacitationto execute particular tasks. Physically challenged persons haveproved to be capable of doing some tasks that able people undertake.Such a deed should form the basis of changing the thoughts regardingdisability.
Goodley, Dan. Disability studies: An interdisciplinaryintroduction. Sage, 2010.
Hawkins, Joan. "‘One of Us’: Tod Browning’s Freaks."Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body(1996): 265-276.
Johnston, Ian B. "My Left Foot." (2012).
Wilson, James C., and Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson. Embodied rhetorics:Disability in language and culture. SIU Press, 2001.