Myths and misconceptions about disability are common. These incorrect assumptions are often triggered by fear, lack of understanding and/or prejudice.

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Myth: A person’s disability defines who they are as an individual.

People often label individuals with a disability according to their condition or limitations. It is common in our daily lives to hear references such as “the disabled” or “the epileptic.” Individuals with disabilities are people first. Remember the slogan “Label Jars, Not People.”

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Myth: People with disabilities are sick
and in constant pain.

People with disabilities are like people without disabilities. People get sick on occasion or sometimes may be in pain. People with disabilities typically do not suffer or experience pain due to their condition.

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Myth: People with disabilities are brave, courageous and inspirational for living with their disability.

People with disabilities are often portrayed as superhuman or courageous as they triumph over adversity. George Covington, a writer who is blind, has said, “We’re seen as inspirational, and inspiration sells like hotcakes. My disability isn’t a burden: having to be so damned inspirational is.”

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Myth: People with disabilities are special and should be treated differently.

The label of “special” in reference to a person with a disability does not convey equality. Expectations for success should not be underestimated to accommodate the “special” label that is associated with people with disabilities.

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Myth: People with disabilities are dependent and always need help.

All of us may have difficulty doing some things and may require assistance. People with disabilities may require help on occasion; however, disability does not mean dependency. It is always a good strategy not to assume a person with a disability needs assistance. Just ask!

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Myth: People with disabilities cannot lead a full and productive life.

People with disabilities are capable of fully participating in community life. The challenge is to focus on a person’s ability, not their limitations. Researchers at Dawson College and MacKay Centre in Montreal remind us: “Mechanics who are blind, nurses who are wheelchair users, teachers who are hard of hearing, painters without arms, and chemists with shaky limbs- it’s all been done!”

source: Myths and Misconceptions About Disability: Together We Rock! - Disabled Peoples’ International