Colin Vanden Berg
Head Copy Editor
Look around for a second. Are there a lot of people or even just a few? Chances are at least one of those people have a or are affected by a person with a disability of some kind. This is not a bad circumstance or issue. In fact, there is a chance for growth in looking at people with disabilities. Those who are affected by disabilities are strong people.
People with intellectual disabilities are like everyone else. They are in no way less than those around them. To think so is to be ignorant to the struggles that a person with an intellectual disability must go through. People with intellectual disabilities have struggles, sure, but their triumphs and their passion are the same as someone without an intellectual disability.
An intellectual disability, according to the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), “is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills.” Intellectual disabilities are under the umbrella term, developmental disabilities, and are considered common according to the Mayo Clinic. There are around three million cases a year in the United states.
These three million cases affect everyone in the country. This effect can either be negative or positive, but unfortunately, it is a negative a lot of the time. Many people who have intellectual disabilities, or just developmental disabilities feel like they are different from the population at large in a negative light. This is not the case at all, and it is imperative that this is seen as such. Those with disabilities are stigmatized daily and they have grown to accept this stigma against them and that is unacceptable.
Stigma, according to Mayo Clinic, is a perception that there is a disadvantage surrounding a person due to a distinguishable characteristic. In a lot of these cases it is due to their disability. Disability has become a word that many people see in a negative light. There is nothing wrong with having a disability. The challenges those with disabilities face are hard, but a lot of them get through them and are incredibly strong individuals.
Having an intellectual disability is not the same as getting dealt a bad hand in life. A person with an intellectual disability must live with having that disability. There is no reason to add to that burden with stigma. Breaking through barriers is what those with intellectual disabilities do. Look at the people who have had them and how far they have come. One great example is Temple Grandin. She is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. There is another feature to her too that never slowed her down in her pursuits; she is autistic. Autism, while being its own disability, is hard to deal with having as well. Temple Grandin is one of many amazing people that have had intellectual disabilities.
Others include, Michael Phelps, who has ADHD, Daniel Radcliffe, who has Dyspraxia and Whoopi Goldberg who has Dyslexia. These are all accomplished individuals who have done some amazing work in their lives. Break the stigma and be what the world does not believe you can be. Become better than the stigma.