Living Disabled in an Able-bodied World


There are many joys as well as struggles of living within a world of able-bodied individuals. Moments where the pain and agony of the curse and ringing of a gong sounds out, ‘disabled… you aren’t able.” I have a real acquaintance with living the life of being disabled for the past 5 years.

I have learned to cope with having to relate with two diverse cultures, the disability culture and the able-bodied culture. Many mothers, siblings, grandparents and friends will experience this diversity each and every day. There are those who are disabled, whether with autism, blindness, or cerebral palsy, must learn to thrive within a world that often frowns on those who attempt to live independent lives. These precious individuals often face the challenge of living in a culture within a culture.

There are also those who for some reason or another have someone from the disability culture, who interacts with them on a daily basis. They too, just as their loved ones, face the difficulty of living within two cultures.

Lastly, there are those who don’t know how to interact with the other cultures of this world.  They stumble in their attempts to interact with the disabled community, not knowing the pain that they are causing.

To those defined by a disability,

You are unique.

You are truly beautiful.

Your smile lights up the room.

You are an inspiration to continue smiling through the pain and to push against the stream.

You are perfect just the way you are.

Your laugh is contagious.

You see people for what they are within and not based on their outward looks.

You are a fighter, battling everything from one word to going to school.(not sure what you mean here)

You are brave, facing doctors, needles, and unknowns daily.

You are strong, getting up every morning to face this world.

You are precious, and our world would not be the same with you missing from our schools, stores, churches and homes.

-Eliza Downer

Eliza Downer, is a teacher by day and a writer by night. She can often be found hiking in the nearby ranges of Colorado or sipping a cup of coffee. She lives with her parents and 10 siblings. To read more of her writings, go to