Social Disability

As an #ActuallyAutistic person with a diagnosed mental illness I face many social barriers that inhibit my ability to function and live freely. When I say social barriers, I mean constraints imposed from society rather than biological or psychological factors unique to me.

A way to accommodate this is through a social model of disability.The social model of disability identifies systemic barriers, derogatory attitudes, and social exclusion (intentional or inadvertent), which make it difficult for disabled people to attain their valued functionings.

The social model of disability diverges from the dominant medical model of disability, which is a functional analysis of the body as a machine to be fixed to conform with normative values.

One of the challenges I face in terms of social barriers is knowing social rules. Although I have made headway in developing a database of rules in different social situations. Society largely needs to be more accepting of Autistics.

Systemic barriers I face are often one of capability. I am categorised as Low/High Functioning, Fit for Work/Not Fit for Work, Disabled/Lazy or Normal/Mad. I am a human being, and the categories dehumanise me. We need dialogue rather than mapped as components of a bigger machine.

All of this leads to unhealthy attitudes on people like me. Such attitudes doesn’t really serve anything other than exclude and cause much emotional pain for disabled and non-disabled people.Disabled people are hurt by discrimination and non-disabled people act out their anger.

As a Star Trek Fan I admired Captain Picard when he said we “We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity”. This is the kind of spirit we need to make the leap of an inclusive society.