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  • Larissa Martin

Please Recognize My Accomplishments Before My Disability

There are so many talented people in the world. Talent comes in many forms: actors, artists, filmmakers, athletes, authors and the list goes on. Some of these people have disabilities and they may not all be physical; some are invisible.

Often when people have disabilities, that is the first thing people notice and not the accomplishments they have achieved. People need to shift the focus onto what people bring to the table rather than their disability. Even if people are acknowledging the disability in a positive way or using it as a source of inspiration for themselves, I feel they are still putting the disability before the person’s individuality. Let me give an example.

I am a writer and have been pursuing my writing career for several years now. I write for several publications and have even had my work re-published from one source to another. I am disabled. I have cerebral palsy and am an amputee. My point in bringing this up is that when people read my work or are interested in hiring me, they do not judge me by my disability but rather for the talent I have. It is nice to have others simply acknowledge my skills and passion.

I am not ashamed of my disability, nor do I try to hide it. I choose instead to let my work speak for itself and the focus remains there. I believe society has trained people to see the disability first and view disabled individuals as an inspiration. We tend to see their accomplishments as secondary. Even when we are speaking about talented individuals with disabilities, we verbally tend to mention the disability first. I feel being aware of how we do this is sometimes enough to rectify the behavior. Seeing the talent and the worldly contributions these individuals are making can be enough to turn perspectives around and move viewpoints in a progressive direction.

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