Illness, Disability, and Identity

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A second amazing TED Talk in as many days! (Yesterdays was on ADHD and is also a must see) 

In our work at Champions we are often confronted with the different ways individuals identify with their disability. For our clients, even the term disability can be a lightning rod - some people look at the term negatively and don't want to identified as disabled, others embrace their disability and use it as major factor in developing their identity. Being born with a disability impacts people differently than those who acquire one later in life. Other disabilities may be fluid and change over time. For example, does a person with epilepsy who has not had a seizure in ten years still identify as having a disability?  

Which brings us to the TED Talk below. In this talk, Andrew Solomon discusses both his personal life and his research into families who have had to deal with a range of disabilities and illnesses - from deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities, with children who are prodigies, who are conceived in rape, who become criminals, and those who are transgender. While each of these conditions may be isolating at an individual level, Solomon finds that the experience at the family level is universal as families share both struggles and triumphs. 

It is an amazing journey with an even more incredible conclusion: that diversity unites us all. Give it a watch.

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