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March 27, 2010

disABILITY: 'Disability' is all a matter of how you look at, define it

Don’t believe your thesaurus; it lies to you.

It actually has some of the most ridiculous misprints. Please take note and handwrite the following corrected information into the margin next to “flaw.” Pen in the word human being. Also add “all creation” in the margin as a synonym as well while you are at it.

Now keep the good book out, we might make a few more marginal notations before we’re done here. In the meantime, I’ve got something here to twist your mind into loops, just for fun. What do you think about this? If nobody is disabled, then everyone is disabled; if everyone is disabled, then nobody is disabled.

Does that make sense to you? I actually think it makes all the sense in the world. That’s how my mind works, though. So come along, let’s just take a ride on the Kate Pavlacka Mental Express and explore this one a little further before abandoning it as useless talk.

If you ask me, I would say that the sentiment just goes to show that disabilities are not as they seem.

Imagine this _ people themselves are not disabled, at least not until the combination of their environment and societal perceptions say they are. And no, I am not in denial. Let me explain.

Let me say, first, that I don’t define disability and handicap differently. To me, a handicap or a situational limitation is the same thing as a disability. Let’s pick this apart a little for understanding’s sake.

It’s one thing when a person’s environment or current circumstance is a handicap that creates a barrier for that individual to somehow overcome. It happens. People adapt.

It’s another thing, though, for society to separate out and treat people condescendingly or as unable or helplessly broken, most especially if these people find suitable adaptations to their environment. It happens. People are narrowly labeled and misunderstood.

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