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What is Disability?

A few weeks ago, my kid & I were looking up definitions of disability & we weren’t too impressed by what we found via google.

I asked on my Facebook page ‘What is disability?’ and many of you gave such thoughtful answers. It felt fitting to collate them together and share your input with a wider audience.

Image of Disability flag. Dark grey background. Stripes of muted red, yellow, white, blue and green go from upper left hand corner to bottom right hand corner.

Image of Disability flag. Dark grey background. Stripes of muted red, yellow, white, blue and green go from upper

left hand corner to bottom right hand corner.

Themes in Responses

  • Support needs vary day-to-day for the same person
  • People may use and need mobility aids a varying amount each day
  • Supports for each person need to be assessed for all settings
  • Someone can be disabled in taking care of their self needs or accessing social activities, healthcare, school or work

“Needs fluctuating is important with people being able to do things one day but not necessarily the next day.”

Scott Neilson, aka Autistically Scott

“I agree to ’needs fluctuating’. It’s especially hard to explain when you are an ambulatory wheelchair user like myself as there are days I can walk ok & days that I need mobility aids ranging from walking cane to power wheelchair.”

“If I need accommodation, support or workarounds to access activities in an equal manner, then I consider that a disability. Remove those & my access is lost.”

“For me, it means my ’abilities’ are sometimes hindered by things I find challenging (internal & external things); it means that some days just doing the simplest things can exhaust me. Disability isn’t always a fixed thing but can change. It’s not always obvious as disabilities can be hidden.”

“I describe disability (mainly my own) to other people as a condition or trait, acquired or always present, that affects my ability to access the world around me & to participate fully in occupations – selfcare, work, feeding myself & my family, leisure activities, overall self actualization.”

S. Di Bosti

“Someone who experiences life in a different way from what is understood as normal that requires them to need adjustments. These might be visible or invisible adjustments like someone needing a wheelchair so they can move from place to place to someone needing to wear headphones when shopping because the environment is too loud.”

Thanks for having a read and exploring this with me,

Laura Hellfeld

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