What upsets me greatly, and that I have experienced first-hand, is this: disabilities are not always visible. I have C-PTSD, anxiety, and a traumatic brain injury (TBI). You cannot see it on the outside…it’s all in my internal wiring system.
To illustrate my point, I setup disability appointments and choose my wording carefully. I ask the person what their ‘debilitating condition’ is (you know, their disability). Many people look at me as if I were crazy, but I want them to tell me all that they want considered, because I cannot always see.
Case in point…my teenage son is on the Autism Spectrum. I had a confrontation with a teacher that let her ignorance show when she said, “He doesn’t look Autistic. I think you might just be babying him.” Really? So, just WTH does that “look” like???? You don’t “see” it until you get to know him. He is higher functioning and verbal, praise God. She really let her ignorance show by assuming that he wasn’t because he communicates and is highly intelligent, that he isn’t on the Spectrum. Albert Einstein, one of the smartest men in the world was believed to have been on the Autism Spectrum. C’mon, folks!
Disabilities can be mental, of course. Disabilities can be cognitive, which you also cannot see. Disabilities can be internal, such as cancer, that never totally manifests on the outside, but eats away at it’s victim from the inside. Just because there is no “indicator” doesn’t mean that disability is not there. Please, please, do NOT discount someone. Also, please don’t ask, “Really? Are you really ‘disabled’?” Accompanied by the horrible finger-gestured “air quotes.” That is just rude and insulting. You have NO IDEA what battles people are fighting and may be battling with their body and mind just to get up in the morning…