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If you are fortunate enough to not have a disability, it is important to remember that this can change at any moment. You never know when you will lose a limb or suffer an accident that could cause paralysis. It is this that makes you realize that you are not able-bodied, but you are temporarily able-bodied. Using this term acknowledges the fact that there is no guarantee one will always remain in full physical health, even though that's the hope. In addition to this terminology, there are important things to know about both visible and invisible disabilities.
When thinking about disabilities, the visible disabilites are the most common that come to mind. This may be someone who is living in a wheelchair, or wears a prosthetic limb. The most important thing to remember is to treat individuals who suffer from these challenges like you would treat anyone else. In practice, this means not doing or saying things that are condescending. For example, don't assume that someone in crutches needs your help opening a door. It's possible that they are just fine. If they ask for your assistance, by all means help them, but don't assume that they cannot take care of themselves.
On the flip side, there are people who suffer from invisible disabilities. Due to the fact that these challenges are not readily visible, people tend to overlook them all of the time. Some common invisible disabilities include major depression, ADHD, and epilepsy among a myriad of others. Similar to visible disabilities, people tend to treat individuals differently when they find out they are suffering from a disability that is generally unseen. The stigmas associated with disabilities stops many from sharing their limitations and can cause a great deal of anxiety. If someone shares this very personal information with you, remember to be compassionate and not assume they are less capable due to their disability.
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