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What makes a difference, a 'disability'?

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Messages: 1 - 12 of 12
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by busybody2 (U9598304) on Thursday, 20th September 2007

    Following on (loosely) from the Wizard's 'genetics' thread "Will I pass it on...?" - given that each individual human being could be said to be unique genetically, what is the borderline between being 'different' and 'disabled'? Is there one? Without being over-p.c., is this down to external factors only such as environment? Many 'ABs' are not at all 'able' since they fail to take care of their bodies (me included).

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  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Chris_Page (U557481) on Thursday, 20th September 2007

    For me, "Disability" has more to do with the barriers people with individual impairments face than what is supposedly "wrong" with our bodies.

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  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by Wheelie EDSer (U1114809) on Thursday, 20th September 2007

    I think it's something you feel. For a while I didn't feel disabled (but wasn't really coping). Then I came to realise I was (and applied for DLA and realised I was worse than I thought!)

    It's strange because when I became reconciled to identifying as "disabled" I then found more help available and that I became more "able" as a result.

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  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 3.

    Posted by deadfromtheneckup (U8800498) on Thursday, 20th September 2007

    Of course so many say that it is society which is the disabling factor. However for me the experience of life i have is so far away from my peers it makes it clear that I am in fact different. Added to which I cannot care for myself without support even to the point of feeding myself or engaging in the world in a meaningful way. I am extremely vulnerable and would probably not last very long if left to my own devices. this I guess makes the difference between different and disabled.
    Interestingly I have depression and PTSD you can't tell I am disabled by looking at me.

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  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by OhDear! (U1821685) on Friday, 21st September 2007

    If our 'difference' means we cannot function as an individual, then the chances are we're disabled.

    Functioning is washing, cooking, cleaning, shopping (!), making love, looking after our babies until they no longer need it, doing anything and everything that any other human being would do on their own 

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  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by tigerwarriorprincess (U9292809) on Friday, 21st September 2007

    That's a definition that makes sense to me, OhDear.. and part of what makes up the DLA criteria, for that matter..

    I am finding out now what FWB said too, on how accepting the definition 'disabled' - and for me now, being more confident in applying it to myself - is starting to attract more 'help', and acceptance by others of my own limitations, than the wearisome business of denial..

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  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by tigerwarriorprincess (U9292809) on Friday, 21st September 2007

    PS - deadfromtheneckup - I have the same, and I don't look very 'disabled' at first glance, either!

    But apparently my facial expressions, tone of voice, mood shift are a giveaway to those close to me when I am in 'flashback' mode.. so maybe it's not so invisible as we think...

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  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by Chris_Page (U557481) on Friday, 21st September 2007


    I personally believe that if you receive assistance to achieve the tasks you outline, then that is a "reasonable adjustment". Being denied help to do them would be a "disabling barrier".

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  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by dissyangel (U9364792) on Friday, 21st September 2007

    Chris, sorry to harp on but, my need for help is getting pretty serious hence, applying for DLA..

    The DLA lot have told me that in getting myself a walking stick, I have no need of help because I am "helping myself" ..

    I am sure that we have all at some stage had to accept that we have had changes in our lives that mean that we do have to ask for help or not do anything..

    The DLA Criteria on "Adjustment" is..appalling and you are absolutely right ..being denied help to do things is a "disabling barrier"

    How do we get this through to those who make the decisions for help applied for ?

    As part of my Training in Nursing years ago, I was taught respect for people who were Disabled in what I thought was an amazing way to show me that if I was Blindfolded, put in a Wheelchair with Cotton Wool in my Ears and sent up & down in a Lift, I too would feel disorientated and..scared..I thank God for that Lesson all those years ago..

    Now as a Disabled person myself, I am horrified that having accepted I am different, I and many others are going through the Insult of having to "explain" why we feel we are "different" and need help and, that is not Human..

    I consider myself to be disadvantaged in terms of what I can't do now that I used to be able to do without help..

    I am proud to be different in so much that, I now am so grateful for having been able in some stage in my life to have done things that some people who are Disabled from Birth have never done.

    I think of Disability as a Forest of Tree's of all different shapes & sizes..I think of it as a Bed of Flowers where *on the Surface*, we all appear to look the same to people who have no Disability at all..

    And for many Disabled people who cannot be seen to be Disabled in the eye of the Beholder, life is harder than ever..

    As Disabled Folk, all of us are being discriminated against because..we are being denied the help that would so enrich our lives in the midst of our chaos and that applies to any Disability and ALL of them..

    Of course, if we did not have the "barrier" of denial that comes not from non acceptance of our Disability but from the very place we go to for help (*blackpool rock*)..then, a lot of us would have a blinkin better quality of life and contentment with help we deserve and crave


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  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by Mum212 (U5432977) on Friday, 21st September 2007

    dissy have you made an appeal re your DLA? I ask because however daunting and oral appeal may sound the outcomes of these things often tend to be favourable. Yes you have to sit and explain your disability and how it impacts on your life to a panel but that often gives you the upper hand.

    It's just a thought.

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  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by RoseRodent (U1896879) on Friday, 21st September 2007

    That is an interesting debate for me as an education student, and indeed perhaps the more complex question of whether we should attempt to support all people in terms of their needs, whether or not those needs conform to a definition of disability, and where to stop. For example, if we have identified that a child meets the correct tick-boxes which constitute a diagnosis of dyslexia, we can allow this child to learn in different ways. This child might be provided with additional audio material, or be allowed to fidget and doodle during lessons. The child who simply finds it easier to learn from audio materials but does not meet a diagnosis of dyslexia is not excused from the written work. Obviously the argument runs both ways that the dyslexic child cannot reasonably be expected to overcome their difficulties with repetition (but might with assistive techniques) but perhaps the other child will, but then again are we teaching them reading or science, and if we are teaching science should we not target the best way to communicate these principles of science to each student? Shouldn't the other student also be supported with the assistive techniques, whether or not they have dyslexia?

    But then maybe we go as far as making allowances for the child who can't be bothered, and doing all their work for them, making allowances for the child who doesn’t like to get up in the morning, providing alternative education for children who don’t like the system of schooling and demand something more expensive, making allowances for the unfit child not to join in with PE because they are no good at it. I merely mean to support the idea that we ask these questions, and undertake and review research, not that I have come to any form of decision on these matters, so please don't take any of that as my opinion.

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  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by OhDear! (U1821685) on Saturday, 22nd September 2007


    There are a lot of things wrong with my body, so I am limited in things I can do myself - but who *really* wants help getting on and off the loo, or in and out of bed, or washing? I can still do these things, but with increasing difficulty and pain.

    This is what I call a 'disabling barrier' - my own body. I know your take on it, but disagree. And who in their right senses would - or could - make love with asssistance ?  Talk about off-putting!

    Report message12

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