If you can do it, so can I

Imagine waking up and being congratulated for drinking your morning coffee. Sounds weird right? Well this is something that has become all too familiar for people with disabilities. Recently, I watched Stella Young’s TED Talk in which she reflects on how disabled people are objectified for the benefit of non-disabled people. This objectification stems from the idea that disabled people serve as objects of inspiration for able bodied people. However, we shouldn’t be, and I’ll tell you why.

People with disabilities do not need to lower their standards or expectations. We are just as capable at completing a task as the next non-disabled person, whether it means a disabled person would have to work harder or longer. Unfortunately, society has created an aura of incapability around people with disabilities. The issue is, it simply isn’t true! If two people–one disabled, one non-disabled–put their minds to running a marathon, they are both capable, whether the marathon is completed in a wheelchair or running on your feet. As Stella pointed out, “Disabled people are more disabled by our societies than our body’s and diagnoses.” I, like Stella, am waiting for society to stop using disabled people for abled people’s benefit. I am fully capable of taking the stairs with my non-disabled friends and I don’t need someone to come up to me and say, “Are you okay with taking the stairs…are you sure?” Frankly, this lack of confidence in disabled people is just the issue, and something I have experienced several times before. Disabled people set their own limits, expectations and goals. We, as a society, need to respect that.