26 May, 2010

from a comment I posted here

The point of disclosing is that you have "real trouble" if people don't understand the way you are. People may not read you as disabled, but read the way you are as some kind of choice or a symptom of something besides disability.

For example, I am a bad speaker and have been since I started talking. I run my words together, speak softly, get off track easily, and perhaps most unfortunately I have trouble using the kind of words that go with the verbal dress code of the situation (for example I'm often mistaken for a class clown when I'm being completely genuine, simply because my word choice doesn't seem academic enough so my classmates and professor assume it is a joke). By concentrating hard I can make sure I stay on track, but that leads to me seeming very nervous or sometimes like I don't care (because it's hard to monitor my content carefully while also making expressions and looking people in the eye).

One result of this is that people make assumptions about my character. For example because they think I'm nervous, they think that I'm shy or I'm being dishonest. People also make assumptions about me being somehow weak or immature--judgments that are insulting, because they mean that no matter how emotionally strong or mature I may become, I will always be regarded negatively because I have trouble talking.

I also recently heard that someone who interviewed me for a job working as a camp counselor thought I wasn't capable of being responsible for someone else's safety, because I was "so quiet" when I was being interviewed.

Sorry to write such a long and in-depth response but I think these are good examples of how disability can affect a person negatively without being read as a disability.

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