Do I Identify as a Person with a Disability?

Do you identify as a person with a disability?

 I was asked this question, and it gave me some pause.

I don’t know? Yes? Maybe not?

When it comes to the word ‘disability’, perspective is very important. For me, it boils down to three perspectives. The first is that some people might not like the word at all. The second is that some people are okay with being identified as ‘disabled’. The third is that some people are neutral about it.

I’m part of the third perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I think word choice is very important. In a previous post, I talked about saying “I am hearing impaired” versus “I have an hearing impairment” – you can read about that here. However, I think a big part behind the kind of word that is used depends on the person’s perspective, and that needs to be respected.

After some thought, I realized that I’m neutral about the term disability, because to me, it is an overarching term that is used to describe a part of someone that may not function at full capacity. Like how ‘red’ can be the overarching colour for all the different shades of red out there.

However, I do not think that my hearing loss ‘disables’ me from doing anything. I am able to contribute to society however I want, I am able to participate in conversations and calls, and I am able to do whatever else that I want to do.

I usually think of my hearing loss as a disability when I don’t have my cochlear on. Not because it ‘disables’ me from doing what I want. Just that, without my cochlear, I am unable to hear.

That’s my view on the word ‘disability’. Personally, I don’t use that word much because of the negative connotations that people associate with it. I mainly use the term ‘impairment’ because I find it more accurate. I recognize that I may be impaired in some situations, which can be fixed with the right accommodations.

So, as I said, I think it’s all about perspective. Do you identify as a person with a disability? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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