Positive Connotations of the word “disabled” (from the standpoint of 5-6 interviews):
- “I would personally identify these types of people as holy and pure. I volunteer at Noah Homes, (a home for adults with
developmental disabilities). They are such a warm, fun, and loving group of residents to work with”. -Veronika Cannon, San Diego, CA.
- “Before I began working with the population of special needs, I viewed these types of people as those who needed lots of help. After my work at “Camp Harmon” involving the special needs population from 8-65 years old, I no longer thought of these types of people as disabled, but more so ‘differently abled’. They are capable of so many things, they just have a different way of accomplishing these things “. -Andi Ruperto, Santa Cruz, CA.
- “Having a son with disabilities has brought me to an understanding of just how special, kind,
and unique this population of people are”. -Lynn Martens, Durango, CO.
- I, Anna Chambers, have worked with individuals with special needs for 7 years now. Through work involving school programs, swimming programs, and summer camps, I have seen the true beauty of just how profound these people are. As I volunteer and work to learn more about them as people, I always end up learning more about myself as they have taught me more about life than anyone else.
Negative Connotations of the word “disabled”:
- “Through the mental, physical, and developmental disabilities that I have experienced, I have found that these types of people are uncomfortable to witness, tragic, and very different from the rest of us”. -Chris, Durango, CO
- “When I think of the word disabled I think of the words limited, injured, and people that need a wide variety of help”. -Jonathan, Durango, CO
After I received the feedback from these specific interviews, it was very eye opening. Although it was refreshing to see that there were more positive connotations of the word rather than negative, I came to the realization that we as humans all have the perceptions of the word “disabled” because of the way in which we grew up, and the experiences we have encountered with this population as a whole.