disability

“You Don't Look Sick” is NOT a compliment

“You Don't Look Sick” is NOT a compliment

What the heck is a chronically ill or disabled person “supposed to look like” anyway??

That’s just it. There is no way for a sick or disabled person to look. Yet not “looking” like a sick person leads to people with chronic illnesses and disabilities being discriminated against, thought of as lazy, unproductive, rude and unmotivated. It leads to people with chronic illnesses feeling the need to perform disability or illness for others: for example I often feel like I should walk slowly or limp when getting up out of my wheelchair, even though I am usually quite capable of walking at a regular speed, lest people come up to me and accuse me of faking my disability or not needing a wheelchair.

The Ivory Tower Only Has Stairs

The Ivory Tower Only Has Stairs

I now repeatedly hear that 1/5 people in Australia have a disability. However when I cast my mind back to my primary and secondary education, I now ask myself: where were the students with disabilities? They were not there because both the physical and pedagogical space did not accommodate them. They were not there because my schools had stairs, not ramps. They were not there because any health issues, mental or physical, were kept quiet. They were not there because they slipped through the cracks and stopped attending. Disability was erased from my primary and highschool experience, and hence my understanding of disability was always as something that was outside and “other”.