Tag: the truth about disability

9 Myths and Facts about Disability

9 Myths and Facts about Disability

myths and facts about disability
The myths and facts about disability can be difficult to distinguish. SSDA USA is here with clarification.

There are many myths and misconceptions about living with a disability. This misinformation can be hurtful and damaging to people with a disability. That is why it’s important to stay informed and up to date on the myths and facts about disability so unfounded prejudices don’t form, and so disabled individuals are treated with more understanding and acceptance. Social Security Disability Advocates USA is here with some of the most common myths and facts about disability to help guide you in the right direction.

Myth 1: People with Disabilities Always Need Help

FACT: The truth is that not everyone with a disability requires constant assistance. Depending on how severe a person’s disability is, a person with a disability (PwD) may actually be mostly independent. Don’t assume that a person with a disability always needs help. It’s true that some PwDs may require more help than others; this is not under dispute. However, don’t assume this for every disabled person you encounter. Anyone is free to offer assistance, but PwDs may often prefer to be responsible for themselves whenever possible.

Myth 2: Blind People Have Other Heightened Senses

FACT: People living with a visual impairment don’t necessarily develop better hearing or a “sixth sense,” as some people may believe. While it’s true that a blind person may be more in touch with their sense of hearing (and may even possess perfect pitch), this isn’t anything superhuman. Similarly, some blind people may develop an echolocation ability, but this is something people without visual impairment can do, as well. It is true that the brain can rewire itself to function in different ways when a person becomes blind. However, results vary for every individual, and going blind doesn’t necessarily mean a person’s other senses will greatly improve. Though, such improvements are quite possible.  

Myth 3: All People in Wheelchairs Are Equally Disabled

FACT: Not everyone using a wheelchair suffers from the same disability. Some people may have no use of their legs and therefore require a wheelchair. Others, however, may still be able to walk, but not for long distances. Use of a wheelchair does not reveal the degree of a person’s disability.

Regardless of the degree of disability, people in wheelchairs are also not “wheelchair bound,” as some believe. A wheelchair is a mode of transportation, similar to a bicycle or scooter. But in various settings, e.g. restaurants, wheelchair users may prefer to use the seats provided. It’s all a personal preference.

Myth 4: People with Disabilities Are Brave and Courageous

FACT: Living with a disability doesn’t require bravery or courage. What is required, however, is an ability to adapt to a different lifestyle. Keep in mind, people with disabilities often don’t see themselves as brave or courageous. And why should they? They are simply living their lives in the best way they can. For them, living with a wheelchair, learning difficulty, cognitive impairment, or some other disability is nothing extraordinary; it’s just how things are. It’s not an achievement to live with a disability. Rather, to live with a disability is to live a different way of life that requires an adjustment of behavior and attitude.

Myth 5: People with Disabilities Should Be Treated Differently

FACT: To treat people with disabilities differently because of their disability would be a form of discrimination. While it’s true that some PwDs require accommodations—e.g. ramps instead of stairs—this does not mean they deserve less respect or lower standards/expectations. In fact, many PwDs can perform their jobs just as well if not better than their non-disabled coworkers.

Don’t pity or look down upon PwDs. They are humans and worthy of respect, just like you. Living with a disability isn’t something a person should pity or frown upon. Rather, the true tragedy is the fact that many establishments lack necessary equipment that would allow accessibility for disabled individuals.

Myth 6: Having a Disability Makes a Person Incapable

FACT: Well, this depends on what the disability is, and what the person is able and willing to try to do. For instance, a person with an amputated leg may need specially devised equipment to figure skate. However, living with a disability doesn’t make a person incapable of everything. What matters most is focusing on what a person can do, not on what they can’t do.

While a person’s disability may be a hindrance in some regards, it’s not the defining characteristic of the person. There have been blind and deaf musicians, painters without arms, and mathematicians with mental illness. PwDs more often than not can learn to adapt and still achieve their dreams, even with their disabilities.

Many PwDs today try to take advantage of joining mainstream society. Oftentimes, PwDs wish to be seen as regular people, not as different or “other.” To do this, PwDs show that they are just as capable as anyone else, and they often succeed in that endeavor.

Myth 7: People with Disabilities Prefer “Their Own Kind”

FACT: It’s not fair to assume that disabled individuals would want to interact with only other disabled individuals. Some PwDs enjoy interacting with other PwDs, while some keep their company limited to those without disabilities. Just as we all have our own preferences and prejudices, so too do PwDs have their preferences and prejudices. Just as it’s unfair to assume the people you associate with, it’s equally unfair to assume whom a PwD would associate with.

Myth 8: Children Shouldn’t Ask Questions about Disabilities

FACT: Sometimes, children may ask questions that adults may find embarrassing or surprising. This is OK, however. Don’t discourage your children from asking questions about PwDs. By discouraging them from asking questions, you are implicitly saying that knowledge of disability is taboo, forbidden, or otherwise undesirable. Remember, PwDs are not inferior, and it’s understandable that children will have many questions about the way PwDs live. Rather than instructing them not to ask questions, you should instead direct the phrasing of their questions to be mindful and respectful, so as to not offend. Most PwDs will be happy to answer questions about living with a disability.

Myth 9: Everyone with a Disability Qualifies for SSDI

FACT: Not everyone will qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Keep in mind, the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines disability in the following way:

  1. You have a condition that hinders you from working and earning Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), and
  2. Your condition has lasted/will last for at least a total of 12 months or will result in your death.

Additionally, to qualify for SSDI, a person must have a certain number of work credits, which is dependent on a person’s age and may not equal the amount of credits needed for retirement benefits.

With this information in mind, it’s important for PwDs to assess whether they qualify for SSDI benefits. If a person is able to work and participate in SGA, that person will, generally speaking, not qualify for SSDI. There are, however, some conditions that will automatically qualify a person for disability, according to the SSA’s Blue Book; certain physical and mental conditions may require less scrutiny during the evaluation process because of the nature of the condition.

Have Questions on the Myths and Facts about Disability?

Living with a disability can be a challenge, but Social Security Disability Advocates is here to help. If you have questions or concerns about disability benefits, contact us right away. You can give us a call anytime at (602) 952-3200 or contact us through an online contact form or LiveChat feature. Don’t let your questions bottle up; get in touch with SSDA USA today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.