5 Myths About People with Disabilities that You Need to Rethink

Sprinter with Prosthetic LegsWhether you personally know people with disabilities or not, you may have some preconceived notions about this facet of the population. With more than one in eight Americans living with a disability, one of the largest minority populations in the U.S., people with disabilities deserve to be better understood. After all, it is the preconceived notions and misperceptions about these individuals that often bar them in many aspects of their lives, from gaining meaningful employment to being financially independent. And at Golden Rule industries our work is centered on being a positive force for inclusion for people with disabilities, so read on to find out what myths about them you should dispel!  

People with Disabilities Can’t Work 

This is one of the most damaging barriers that people with disabilities face because it affects their financial independence and sense of purpose. People with disabilities CAN work, and in fact, many of them do! You might even be surprised to know also that some case studies have shown that workers with disabilities, like autism, often exceed their peers in productivity than their non-disabled colleagues. And recent research from Accenture has shown that companies practicing policies of inclusion have significantly outperformed their peers in areas like revenue and net income too! 

All Disabilities are Visible 

Believe it or not, not everyone that has a disability uses a wheelchair, walker, or cane. You may meet someone who has a disability without it being physically visible such as someone with a chronic illness like lupus, Lyme disease, or multiple sclerosis. So, don’t be quick to judge when you see someone parking in a handicapped spot that doesn’t look physically disabled. They may be struggling with a life-threatening disease or chronic pain syndrome that is not visible on the outside.  

People with Disabilities Need Constant Care 

Although it’s true that many people with disabilities need care from caregivers, every person with a disability is different. Just like some disabilities are visible and others aren’t, some disabilities are more severe than others. Many people with disabilities are very independent and have learned to adapt to their environments with the help of aides, technology, and learning through trial and error, just like you and me! 

People with Disabilities are Brave and Inspiring 

This is another myth that often makes people with disabilities cringe. Just because someone has a disability doesn’t mean that they are brave or inspiring for having one. Many people with disabilities were born that way or have acquired them throughout their lifetime, but it’s not something that defines their existence. When you say someone with a disability is brave or inspiring, you might be implying that to them that it is a less-than-desirable existence and you could never live that way yourself. It also belittles some of the actual accomplishments they have attained in their lives, by saying that merely existing is some sort of monumental achievement. So think twice before you call someone with a disability inspiring! 

The Lives of People with Disabilities are Totally Different from Non-Disabled Persons 

Always remember that people with disabilities are just human. Although they may go about their daily lives differently than you and face different obstacles due to their disability, their physical needs, desires, and emotions are purely human. People with disabilities think, feel, laugh, cry, learn, change their minds and moods, go to school, and work too. So, as it is when you meet any new person, you should throw your prejudgments out the window when you meet someone with a disability, and just plain get to know them for who they are! 

Now that you might have a better picture of what people with disabilities are like on the inside and out, you can be a force for inclusion too by supporting our mission here at Golden Rule! 

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