10 things often said to one woman with disability

By Nidhi Shekaran, 27 April 2016 , Comments

When you have a disability people sometimes say things to you that they wouldn’t say to other members of the community. Some of the things they say are strange, sometimes I understand where they are coming from and sometimes I can even laugh about them.

Here is a list of 10 things people often say to me and what I think, or say, back in response to them.

1.) You deaf woman. Can you hear me?

I have mild cerebral palsy and vision impairment. I am not deaf so don’t assume to know how strong my hearing is. Most of the time I don’t even respond to this, I just think to myself “that’s random” and walk away.

2.) Move faster.

This is often said to me when I am waiting in queues.  Again, I just think if you knew what impact cerebral palsy has on a person you wouldn’t be saying this.

3.) Why isn’t your cane being used all the time?

It’s my cane. It’s my disability and I can use it however I want. I suspect when people say this they think I’m faking my disability. The reality is that I do not need the cane in familiar surroundings and in daylight hours.

4.) You’re not getting in my taxi.

Taxi drivers often won’t stop to pick me up even though they are not supposed to refuse a taxi service. A lot of drivers think I am faking my disability if my cane is not visible and sometimes I take taxis for short journeys and they don’t like this. When refused I ask “Excuse me, what is your number and what is the taxi company’s number?” and then report them.

5.) Is cerebral palsy contagious?

I was asked this at an awareness talk I gave. No is the answer.

6.) Why do you walk funny?

I “walk funny” because the cerebral palsy causes a limp on my right side and makes me get tired.

7.) Can your eyes be operated on so you can be normal?

The ophthalmologist told me if the operation is done I could go blind. Do you want me to go blind and not have the vision that I currently have?

8.) Why do I feel like you’re constantly staring at me?

I have a wavering eye and have to focus on things a bit longer.

9.) Can you have children with cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy doesn’t prevent pregnancy. Other medical conditions might.

10.) Why are you eating with your hands?

I don’t use cutlery in both hands because I have poor fine motor skills. Also because I am vision impaired, sometimes it’s very hard for me to see what I’m picking up with a piece of cutlery. I have to ask permission to eat with my hands. It can be very annoying. To me, it’s just natural.

I have shared this because I want to break stereotypes and create awareness. I want people to think more about a person’s disability before making assumptions.

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