So Amy Sterling Casil publishes a post at Special Needs in Strange Worlds on the premise that “We Are All Disabled.” (it’s been pulled and an apology posted). Her thesis:
•She is disabled herself because her high levels of empathy make her so sensitive.
•God sends us our disabilities. Not for punishment but as a kind of gift—if you’re blind, autistic, in a wheelchair, you will have different, perhaps deeper experiences than a regularly abled person.
•When you look at how little of the universe we can see, sense or comprehend, aren’t we all disabled? Maybe we should just stop thinking “disabled” is a particular category.
In response: 1)I have not heard of this, and from the way Sterling Casil writes, it doesn’t sound like she’s had an official diagnosis. But I may be wrong. 2)God does not strike people disabled, and no, being disabled does not put you on some higher spiritual plane (this is not a new thought—when I was a kid, the special way blind people supposedly had of sensing the world was sometimes presented as a really amazing and awesome thing, rather than just not being able to see). 3)This is gibberish. The reason we class some people as disabled is because they have serious problems dealing with things the rest of us can take for granted (wheelchairs and stairs). The fact none of us can see ultraviolet light or hear sonar like bats doesn’t change that, or the advantage those of us who are abled have. And that’s not even talking about discrimination against people with disabilities.
Jim Hines gives a very reasonable, thoughtful commentary on the original, now removed post. Foz Meadows’ response is well thought out too, but a lot more angry (I do not mean that as a criticism of Meadows).
UPDATE: In comments, Katherine Traylor links to this tweet collection which includes multiple tweets from disabled individuals (as does Hines’ comments thread).