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Midterm Project on the idea of proximity to non-disability

rkhan's picture

Hi all! I have attached my midterm project below - thanks for reading :-) 


LaurenH's picture

I love this! I feel like I talked about some of the themes in my midterm project without using the words "proximity to non-disability." In my piece, I talked about masking and how that affects people getting diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental difference. It's likely due to this idea that people who assimilate to able-bodied people are accepted more or have "overcome" their challenges. When, in reality, many people who mask struggle significantly but don't show it and it prevents them from getting help and being able to be themselves.  It was very well written and I think a lot of people can ressonate with what you said. I do hope that your proximity to non-disability meter is implemented into customs somehow!

Leo's picture

hi rafa !! I really loved your project and how you MADE your different graphs (as well as the little side bubbles & quiz) !!! it made me feel like I was reading a very beautiful, very informational sort of magazine :') I really appreciated your description of hierarchy and the quiz to see where you place, but also how you continued it to be a pushing-off point for us to think of our proximity to it all. overall a 10/10 experience & read :) 

cds13's picture

Hi Rafa, I really enjoyed reading your midterm project. I learned so much on how people talk about whiteness. It was my first time learning about "proximity to ..." and you did a great job walking me through it. 

Bella's picture

Hi Rafa,

Thank you so much for sharing this project! I think the idea of "proximity to non-disability" is so interesting and I love how you connected it to the idea of proximity to whiteness. I appreciate that you gave a quick background timeline on the language used to describe whiteness since the 1400s, as it helped me understand how the rhetoric has shifted over the years.

Something that your project really made me think about is the treatment of folks with intellectual versus physical disabilities. The graphic that you made about "Good vs Bad Disabled" was really good and it made me reflect a lot on my own experience as someone with a mostly invisible disability. I realized that around the time I started identifying as disabled, I started qualifying it by telling people "I have a physical disability [yadayadayada]" because I feared that if I said I was disabled but they felt I didn't "look disabled", they might conclude that I must be able-bodied but have an intellectual or learning disability. I've always told myself that I've specified "physical disability" because if they knew I wasn't able-bodied then they would be more open to granting me physical accommodations, such as accessible seating. On some level, though, I think part of me is just worried about experiencing the social stigma that surrounds intellectual disabilities more than my physical disability. Every summer since I was little, I've volunteered at a camp for Deaf adults with special needs, and a large chunk of them have intellectual rather than physical disabilities. This early exposure to various types of disability (starting before I myself became disabled) helped me to not validate those unfounded stereotypes and stigmas associated with disabled folks. However, I know that many people do hold these biases, and when I'm telling people about my disability I'm already so nervous about how they'll respond that I instinctively add the qualifier "physical" so as to avoid any extra stigma. If the average American had more exposure to disability I think these stigmas would lessen and I don't think I'd necessarily feel inclined to qualify my experience. Then again, if the average American had more exposure to disability, I think universal design and accessibility in general would go up and I might not have to tell strangers about my medical background in the first place.

There are so many great thoughts in your project that I'd love to talk with you about some time. I'm going to save the PDF so I can reread it / refer back to it in the future.