What Do You See? Perceptions of Disability
Throughout this module, you were introduced to a number of people with disabilities and learned a little about their abilities, interests, and challenges. Like people without disabilities, they may attain higher education, be successfully employed, and take part in social and community activities. You also learned that our perceptions about people with disabilities can be shaped by cultural backgrounds and experiences, media portrayals, and common misperceptions. These perceptions, in turn, influence our treatment and expectations of people with disabilities.
Our perceptions can also influence the language we use when interacting with or referring to people with disabilities. Moreover, language shifts and changes over time so that words that were once considered inoffensive or neutral may later take on meanings or connotations that are no longer considered acceptable or are even regarded as offensive. To address this issue, most disability communities encourage the use of people-first language, a positive, respectful way to refer to individuals with disabilities.
Listen to sculptor Michael Naranjo share his experiences (time: 5:11).
Credit: KNME TV
Revisiting Initial Thoughts
Think back to your initial responses to the following questions. After working through the resources in this module, do you still agree with your Initial Thoughts? If not, what aspects of your answers would you change?
What did you see?
What feelings did you have about the photos?
What thoughts did you have about the individuals in this challenge?
Do perceptions matter?
When you are ready, proceed to the Assessment section.