The very basic function of the concept called “disability” has perplexed me for decades. Why is it automatically given a negative connotation when thought or spoken out loud? Why do we teach our children that it’s inappropriate to look at a disabled person rather than encouraging them to inquire freely? It seems to further ingrain the lesson that disability is something to be avoided rather than approached as an opportunity for learning.
For the sake of brevity, I will focus solely on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of disability which states:
“Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Thus disability is a complex phenomenon, reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.” 1
I propose a different definition for “disability”: “opportunities unrealized”. Continue reading Disability redefined