It’s easy to think of things we don’t like about our disabilities. But, what’s the best thing about our disabilities? That question may be harder to answer, but the answers are interesting. When I asked the Disability Wisdom Discussion Group “what’s the best thing about your disability?” here are some responses that came in:
- The ability to turn the volume of the world way down.
- The fact that I am not hesitant to assert myself and do not censor my views and ideas. And the fact that I do not get bogged down by things that a lot of folks who have not faced such a significant limitation in life might get bogged down by.
- So many chances that I have had that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t blind. I know that’s strange to hear, but it’s true in my case.
- Getting the opportunity to touch and interact with interesting things.
- So many things come to mind: the many wonderful people I know through being part of the disabled community, and the sense of connection and solidarity I feel with them. The sense that I’m part of a long tradition of marginalized folks working toward social justice, and the fact that as awful as being met with ableism obviously feels and as much as I want it to disappear forever, it’s made me more mindful of other “isms” in our society and I hope a better ally to minority groups I’m not a part of.
- If not for my blindness, I probably wouldn’t have met the man I love. Also, knowing the secret code of braille is awesome!
- The ability to go really fast in my wheelchair!
- It’s made me more empathetic assertive and resilient
- The people I get to meet and share my story too. I wasn’t as independent before I lost my sight. I travel and speak nationally and internationally.
- The best part of being blind? Surviving the cancer that caused it and helping to advance research and treatment of eye cancer.
- I like the way I think and process information. I always thought that was because I was blind, but I was recently diagnosed as autistic so I don’t know anymore, but I think some of it is about being blind. I know that if I became sighted that would mess it all up.
- The amazing people I have met due to it. I would not otherwise know such a powerful community.
- One advantage to blindness, that is likely more noticeable to people who have experienced vision loss as an adult, is that it is a lot easier to focus on tasks requiring a great deal of mental effort when one is free from the continuous distraction of “visual noise,” that can be a real impediment to concentrating on the task at hand.
- I love how my combination of disabilities has forced me to become more resourceful and able to solve problems. I’m able to find alternative ways to do many things that others didn’t consider.
- I’m not enamored of being blind. But there are positives: I learned early on to question authority. My parents and teachers were often not in agreement about my education, so I knew adults weren’t always right. Also, I met the love of my life through blindness connections.
- My ability to problem-solve and my resilience would not be at the level it is now if I weren’t blind. I would most likely not use a screen reader and therefore get to speed it up to 94% and listen to info at approximately 1,149 words per minute. Lol.
- [Without my disability] I would not be able to listen to sounds as shapes.
- I think one positive about my disabilities is that life would probably be very very boring [without them], I would not have met my husband, I would not also know Braille or sign language, and I would have not had the opportunity to work, be with friends, be a part of, support, and fight for PWD like me.
- As silly as it might seem, my absolute fave part of my blindness is being able to take my eyes out for halloween. 😀
- I guess the best lesson my disability ever taught me was the first one. I learned very early on that life isn’t fair, and it never will be. Once I got over that stumbling block, while life has been very hard at times, the rest of the puzzle pieces have fallen into place. I see so many people, both children and adults, struggling because they expect the world to somehow be fair. It’s not. Get over that and you’ll be a lot better off.
- Thanks to Braille I can read anywhere—no light needed
- The parking.
- The health insurance.
- I’d say the connections with people and the things we learn.
Before I conclude this post, I must note some more controversial answers that came up. A few people expressed that blindness, in particular, made them less judgmental or less focused on outward appearances. This comment was challenged by others who pointed out that we all can be judgmental; we might just use other inputs (e.g., accents, voice) to judge. Another controversial comment was regarding being on Social Security Disability: There are obvious disadvantages to being poor, but some felt there are advantages to being unemployed and having freedom in one’s schedule to pursue passions.
Finally, some respondents noted that with multiple disabilities, some may be more positive than others. For example, it was often difficult to find positive aspects of having a health-related disability, and easier to find positive aspects of having a sensory disability.