• vanessabelleau

Let's Talk About Ableism

Updated: Aug 31

Let’s talk about Ableism because at the end of the day people with disabilities are people, they should be treated with the same levels of respect as any other human. And that is a fact!


If you are not sure what ableism is then don't worry, that is what this blog is for!


What is ableism?


Ableism is defined as discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities (visible and invisible) based on the belief that typical abilities are superior.


It can manifest as an attitude, stereotype, or outright offensive comment or behaviour. In many ways, the world we live in is ‘ableist’ as it was built in favour of those without disabilities.


Ableism can take many forms - from the failure to make events accessible to the assumption that those with disabilities “want or need” to be fixed. It can come across in our everyday actions and what we say.


Ableist phrases sound like:

  • You will never be able to do ___

  • You don't look disabled

  • How did you become disabled?

  • Should you really have children?

What does everyday ableism looks like?


Ableism can take many forms - from the failure to make events accessible to the assumption that those with disabilities “want or need” to be fixed. It can come across in our everyday actions and what we say.


Here are a few ways that everyday ableism presents itself courtesy of Access Living:

  • Choosing an inaccessible venue for a meeting or event, therefore excluding some participants

  • Using someone else’s mobility device as a hand or footrest

  • Framing disability as either tragic or inspirational in news stories, movies, and other popular forms of media

  • Casting a non-disabled actor to play a disabled character in a play, movie, TV show, or commercial

  • Making a movie that doesn’t have an audio description or closed captioning

  • Using the accessible bathroom stall when you are able to use the non-accessible stall without pain or risk of injury

  • Talking to a person with a disability like they are a child, talking about them instead of directly to them, or speaking for them

  • Asking invasive questions about the medical history or personal life of someone with a disability

  • Assuming people have to have a visible disability to actually be disabled

What can you do?


Learn

Educate yourself on what ableism is, read first-hand accounts from those with disabilities to understand the problems they face.


Check

Check your language and actions, are you contributing to the problem?


Improve

We can all improve and be more mindful of others. Whether you check the accessibility of a building before organising an event or make sure your website is accessible to everyone, there are ways to include everyone!


At the end of the day, people with disabilities are people. They should be treated with the same levels of respect as any other human. If you want to work with me to improve how accessible your business is then get in touch.


Let's do this!

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