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Ability and Beyond

Disability knows no prejudice. It does not discriminate by demographic… by race, religion, socio-economic status or gender. It does however, categorize by ability and appearance, not only within our general society but even within the disability community itself.
And there are implications of stereotypically defaulting to the super athlete – the Paralympian – commonly showcased in mainstream media.
Preconceived notions of inability and misguided attitudes are monumental barriers to inclusion of persons with a disability. Historically, these systemic predispositions constructed the battleground for equitable opportunities led by community advocates and disenfranchised individuals themselves.

The generalization of the “disability community” is a broad-brush delineation of Canada’s largest and most indiscriminate minority, often painting a picture of limitations and debility. But in fact, our country’s community of individuals with disabilities is a canvas of fine-strokes, a compilation of countless physical and intellectual distinctions and diversities, and abilities.

For 30+ years, Disability Today Publishing Group has promoted inclusion and equitable opportunities for people with disabilities. Our core values encompass the importance of diversity and inclusion of all people.

We also recognize the importance of equitable representation of women and persons of colour, particularly those with a disability, in our nation’s workplaces, sports and recreation spaces and in the media assets… an understandable challenge of representing various disabilities in a variety of varying lifestyles.
Good in theory and even better in practice.
Standard semantics within the disability community call for “person first” language. That is, not “the disabled” but rather “someone with a disability” or “person with a disability.” It’s a theoretical concept intended to emphasize the importance of identifying a person for who they are, and not by their physical circumstance.

In practice, it’s more about attitude, or mindset, and when that is intrinsically established, relationships are strengthened and inclusion is optimized. And when it evolves from ritual to routine, it transcends all differences, and embraces diversity in any of its many forms.