Thursday, April 11, 2013

About "Awareness"

Its often hard for us to communicate to others what we, as people with disabilities want, but something that gets mentioned a lot is "Awareness" ... as in "raise awareness about (fill in your specific disability, condition, or issue here)."

What, exactly, are people supposedly un-aware of? Why do we want them to become more aware of these things? How will our lives be better once people become "aware"? Is my version of "awareness" the same, or even remotely similar to yours?

Unfortunately, "awarenss" is one of those words that is widely used but rarely defined or explained. That makes it easy to dismiss or mock ... a piece of verbal fluff that makes it seem like we've said something, and allows us to avoid the difficult task of actually explaining ourselves.

But clearly, each person does have something in mind when they say they want to raise awareness about disability. So no joke, no snark ... I'm really asking, what does "disability awareness" mean to you?