Disabled and Proud

How are attitudes about disability changing and why?

Like so many other types of individual differences, disabilities are gradually becoming accepted as one of the ways of being human. If society can now accept and give rights in the workplace and on the home front to women, blacks, Hispanics, the LGBT community, immigrants of varying ethnicities, surely it is time for people with disabilities to be embroidered into the fabric of our culture as well. It is no longer enough to welcome those who are “different” (as if any of us is not!) to participate in society, it is necessary to bestow the same honors upon them as other minority groups, particularly because the people with disabilities are the largest minority group in the United States.

If you are disabled, whether physically, psychiatrically, because of a learning disability, because of a congenital defect, as a result of aging, injury, trauma or disease, you are entitled to all the same rights and privileges as everyone else. Beyond that, you are entitled to the accommodations necessary to put you on as level a playing field as possible with the rest of the population. If you run into problems applying for or being awarded the disability benefits you deserve in Arizona, you should promptly contact an energetic and experienced Social Security Disability attorney to fight vigorously for your rights.

Disabled Population is Large and Growing Larger

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one in five adults in the United States is living with a disability. The National Organization on Disability says there are 56 million disabled people in this country. As a matter of fact, as more categories of psychiatric, neurological, and learning disabilities are discovered, the percentage of people who fit into the disabled categories continue to grow.

Accentuating the Positive

Just as most of us have come to accept slogans like “Black is Beautiful,” and “We’re Here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It!” as worthy of respect and helpful in ridding ourselves of racism and sexism in all their forms, it is clearly time for us to embrace the rights of the disabled community, in all its various manifestations, to express identity pride. Those in wheelchairs, those who use walkers or rollators, have cochlear implants, prosthetic limbs or service dogs or breathing devices, those with Down syndrome or short stature, autism or schizophrenia or bipolar disorder — all are as human as the rest of us. They all have as much right to be proud of their accomplishments and to live their lives free from discrimination in schools, in the workplace, at sporting events, in playgrounds, in restaurants, in theatres and on public transportation as do we all.

Getting Used to the Idea of Disability as a Normal Part of Life

While most of us will never change our skin color or gender, we will all spend some portion of our lives being disabled. As Rosemarie Garland-Thomson recently wrote in The New York Times, “We just might be better off preparing for disability than fleeing from it.”

If you are disabled, you may have questions concerning qualifications for Social Security Benefits or you may require assistance in applying for SSDI or SSI, appealing a denial of benefits, or requesting a hearing. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in disability law.