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Stephanie's picture

Benefits of the "Disability" Label

Disability as a label is controversial topic, as evidenced by our class discussion last week. However, I personally feel that these labels can sometimes (not always) be beneficial. I think their benefits outweigh their negatives. I agree with Emily when she wrote, "Brains that cannot function by themselves within a culture (which consists of more than one person) and are at risk for lower chance of survival should be labeled "disabled" (or "different", labels don't matter to me as long as action takes place) so that the rest of the community knows that they must take part in helping this individual survive." I also believe that sometimes by giving people a label of disability, other individuals in the community pay special attention to that individual and attempt to help that individual in beneficial ways.

One instance of this beneficial labeling that I have witnessed is in a special speech & language enrichment program I work in with preschools who have speech & language disorders. By labeling these children with these disorders, they are now recognized and eligible for the help they are currently receiving in this special classroom. In this classroom, we tailor the curriculum and activities to improve their speech & language skills. If I were a child with a speech disorder, personally, I would want as much as help as possible to help me thrive in the community and culture where I live. And in our society, speech & language play an integral part of daily life. I feel that not helping a child with their speech & language disorder and letting them carry on life in our world would be letting the child suffer, which I think would be unjust because currently have the tools and ability to help these children. If someone truly did not want to receive any help, then I do not think we should force them to get help, especially because they are not harming others with their choice not to get help. However, when a child is so young (3 and 4 years old) they cannot make that decision, and it is up to their parents to decide in their best interest. If I were a parent, I would most certainly decide to help my child in any way possible.

In class people mentioned, "changing our culture" so that speech & language disorders are no longer a label, disability, or disorder. I do believe cultures can change, but I believe this change will occur more slowly than the time it takes for a child to improve their speech & language skills with speech therapy. Therefore, maybe in the future we will not need the term speech & language disordered or disabled, however, right now, I believe these labels are necessary to provide certain individuals with the help they need to function and succeed in our society today.

I look forward to hearing everyone else's comments. See you in class on Tuesday!

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