Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Are you an "Ableist?"

For centuries we instituted the most disabled amongst us.  Treating them as animals in cages.  Today our most common treatment for the disabled is to euthanize them or abort them.  We haven't really come all that far from Sparta.  It's unfortunate that we don't see the dignity in those of us who are most vulnerable. 

That said I don't like the use of the term ableist.  It's often used in highly controversial ways as we have more advances in medical care. 

Ableist in its most basic definition means to discriminate against the disabled.  But some among the disable community use it as a term to describe anyone who wishes to "normalize" disabled people.  One could call someone an ableist for providing artificial limbs to those born without them.  But more controversial is cochlear implants for deaf children.  Some feel that this is ableist.  I've seen the term batted about quite frequently among the autistic community too.  Say that someone is a person with autism and you are automatically called an ableist.  Suggest looking into advanced treatment options for autistic persons so that they can be more independent and you are called an ableist.

Really ableist is a misnomer.  Most persons have to have some sort of aids to be "able" to function in society.  I cannot drive without my glasses.  I cannot function without my medication.  Yet I'm not classified as disabled because those aids keep me functioning at a "normal" social level.  Those who are visually impaired may wear glasses but their vision is such that it will never be 20/20.  Should we really be encouraging taking away any kind of aid that helps the visually impaired?  Shouldn't we want to make their lives easier not harder?  Or is that also being an ableist?

 Likewise the same logic can be applied to any aids given to the disabled community.  What's wrong with using electronic tablets for those who cannot speak?  Is prescribing medication to help control ticks a terrible thing?  Is it so heinous to want to make a person's life easier and not more difficult?  Surely having a constant tick takes its toll on a person's body.  How much does society need to bend to be accommodating to the disabled before it becomes over burdensome to the disabled persons themselves?  You don't expect people with functioning legs to carry a person without limbs around all day do you?  You would want such a person to be able to have independence yes?  That to me is wanting the best for a disabled person. 

But no I must be an ableist to suggest that making life easier for autistic children to be independent through treatment options is wrong.  Life is hard even for people who can function well in it.  Why deny a person their independence, their ability to function in society, simply because you don't like how difficult life is?  Why is there no room for disagreement about appropriate accommodations?  Why labeling people who only want to enable as "ableist" like it's a bad thing?  Maybe someone can explain.  Because as a parent I want my child to be a part of society and not merely on the outside expecting everyone to treat him like a baby.  That's not treating a person with dignity or worth.  That's simply demoralizing him. 

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I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!