Viruses, disconnections and deformation conjure adverse states. Virus-free, well-wired and beauty suggest positive states. Change your filters, however, and viruses become vectors to target therapy delivery, wireless/untethered becomes a preferred mobile environment and deformity can be a means to evolution. Many of our filters are reflexive and unconscious. We sometimes forget that our filters are active and can be double-edged swords that allow us to see differences, but can also keep us from seeing inherent potentials, alternative directions and new possibilities.
Persons with disabilities are often challenged by the filters through which they are viewed. Even the word “disabilities” engages the good versus bad, better versus lesser filters. Change filters and persons with disabilities are seen as persons with ability differences, capable via an additional or alternative path. Like their colleagues, they are persons with a range of skills, who both fail and excel in many domains. They are not universally underachievers, nor universally overachievers. Ability differences can prompt people to employ different filters and strategies to address the world, sometimes to innovative effect and desirable outcomes.
Ready to see how another view might benefit your goals? Include persons with ability differences in, not just invite them to, discussions. Value alternative perspectives for the new possibilities they may reveal. Engage and encourage persons with ability differences to contribute to the search for solutions to important questions. You might be surprised how much you’ve been missing!
Kathy Mann Koepke, NICHD