Impairment Adaptation, Self Worth…and the danger of Arrogance

September 16, 2006 at 12:36 PM (Uncategorized) ()

Another possible positive of impairment….

If one’s impairments teach one how to adapt (physical tasks, social situations,), is it possible that by adapting to one’s impairments, one learns that “adapting” in and of itself is a positive thing? becomes a more mutable,flexible, adapting “person?” Better able to respond to change, alteration, difference in their physical selves, their social environment their cognitive ability and come to terms with those changes faster than even some of the able around them??…and more involved and interested if new assistive technology is created to further “level the playing field?” so that the impaired individual won’t ignore or dismiss out of hand possible technological/human/animal help, and in fact will seek it out?

I can say that I’ve seen the reverse. An absolute refusal to adapt to decreased physical capability….The result of the refusal actually profoundly increased the level of impairment, in several people with impairment I’ve known…and, the higher the number and level of impairments, I think….the tougher it is to adapt, and there’s a ‘vicious cycle’ thing going on…

The one danger in such an argument, of course, it could be misused to play into the “Supercrip” idea and that if *every* impaired person is *expected* to be extremely capable of adapting….those who would rather not spend money on the things that help us would point to that capability and say…”Just roll with everything….”

Another thing, that *everybody* able and not, might benefit from….make an active effort not to tie your self-worth to how you look, or what you can *do, make, create* as in….well then, the moment I realized that one of my more invisible impairments meant that I can no longer act or sing in public, or became much less mobile, then, automatically, I would have been “worth” much less to myself if I pinned it on *what I can no longer do*

Get self aware. Look at your flaws, physical and otherwise, and figure out if they can (or even should) be able to take away from your worth. Don’t get fooled by others yardsticks. They don’t apply. Tell them so (Heh)

And, like anyone else, if there’s something you don’t like about yourself (not something simply disliked by others, but that *you* don’t like) that can be changed…see if you can change it, temporarily or permanently.

What are the things about you….past *and* present, all together that you see as positives…valuable attributes. Use them all. Just because you cannot do a thing now, doesn’t render any less cool the fact that you could do it then.

And, as a lot of blogging recently has indicated, even the future can have *new* positives that exist precisely *because* first, or additional impairment has occurred.

That last one is so hard for me to chew on.

I was of the opinion that it was necessary to wrench good things out of a universally negative situation.

I’ll go so far as to say, my perception is: some good things come out of some impairment some of the time. They’re good things that cannot be experienced without becoming impaired.

I just hadn’t seen it before. I don’t weigh them on some scale that means “this bad” outweighs “this good.” They simply exist. More, and most important….after some initial period of time of “Oh sh!t what do I do *now!* examine the idea that some good could come out of an impairment before consigning it to the “hell no, nothing good can possibly come of this,” pile. Do some serious examination…you might be able to discover *and multiply* any good that’s found.

And the last thing….if every individual has inherent worth and dignity, then why does this puzzler happen…the conscious or unconscious attitude of someone suffering with impairment who says, either inside their head, or out in public: “Well, at least I’m better/better off than…[insert person or group of people here]

Using that kind of hierarchical thinking is more than unproductive. My perception is, it seems in opposition to disability activism. Fights for access, accommodation, a level playing field, protest, because attitudes of ‘lesser’ can then be justified against us, if *we use them ourselves against someone else.*

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