Ableism: noun | able·ism | \ ˈā-bə-ˌli-zəm \
Definition: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities
I will assume that most of us believe that discrimination and prejudice is wrong, and that we would never knowingly discriminate against disabled people. But just like any other sort of prejudice, much of the problem is societal norms and internalized biases that we may not even realize have taken root in our language and way of thinking. If you or someone close to you are not disabled, it’s quite easy to miss the myriad of ways the world around us it set up to benefit the able-bodied. While not all ableism is intentional, the impact is still very real and unpacking the underlying assumptions you may have about disabled people is an excellent place to start in reducing that harmful impact.
A disability is an impairment or difference that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person’s life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person’s lifetime. It may be genetic, related to a chronic illness, or the result of an accident or trauma. Many people experience comorbid disorders that all contribute to their overall wellbeing. Disability is a wide umbrella, and it effects people in very different ways.
To be continued… this page is still in progress. In the interim, check out these resources on accessibility and ableism to learn more.