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Do You Know What, ‘Ableism’, Means?

Do You Know What, ‘Ableism’, Means?

Ableism, unfavourably impacts the lives of all people with disabilities.

Until recently, I’m embarrassed to admit, I had never even heard of the term ableism.

And so for the sake of others for whom ableism may be a new term, I thought it might be beneficial to explain what it is.

Simply put; ableism is the discrimination and prejudice against people who have disabilities.

Encompassed in the concept of ableism are hateful attitudes toward the disabled, denying them access throughout their communities, denying them housing and jobs, the creation of benefit systems designed to perpetuate poverty for the disabled, and communities set up for and that cater to the non-disabled.

Ableism is the belief that people with physical, mental or developmental disabilities need to be fixed or normalized in order to be considered full, functioning, and contributing members of society.

I’m sure you’ll all agree that ableism needs to be wiped off the face of the earth!

In a perfect world our loved ones with special challenges would live, work, and play in welcoming, friendly, accommodating, inclusive, and equal communities.

But since we do not yet live in a perfect world, we need to actively begin creating one for our children with disabilities to some day inhabit.

The first step in creating the perfect world for our children with disabilities, is to be actively, persistently, and unceasingly making sure that our medical professionals, politicians, law-makers, and the general public know that our loved ones with disabilities are not defective or inferior.

We need to actively show the world that our loved ones with disabilities are not broken and do not need to be fixed.

We need to make it known to the world that our loved ones with disabilities are not problems to be solved, but that there are problems within their society that do need to be solved.

We need to boldly proclaim from the mountain tops that our loved ones with disabilities are productive, contributing members of society and valuable assets to their communities.

We need to vehemently insist that our loved ones with disabilities do not need to be conformed to fit into society, but that the world needs to be adapted to accommodate their unique needs.

The world needs to know that our loved ones with special needs are more than their disabilities.

The world needs to know that our loved ones with disabilities have unique points of views, talents, gifts and opinions that can help make this world a better place.

The world needs to know that our loved ones with disabilities are awesome, complete, and unbroken human beings worthy of being loved and treated with dignity and respect.

We need to vigilantly and unwaveringly fight for the complete and total unconditional acceptance, accommodation, and inclusion into society of all our loved ones with disabilities.

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Claire Smyth

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