I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word disability. What is the focus of that word? Is it upon what an individual cannot do? I recently learned of a student organization at the College of St. Ben’s / St. John’s University who use the term DIFFERbilities. I like it. I think it suggests that when encountering a person with a cerebral palsy, for example, we should look through a different lens. One that hones in on the idea that living with a disability can be formational. It can be the very thing that provides a person an opportunity to develop skills, talents, and abilities they wouldn’t normally otherwise explore.
I am still developing my thoughts on this idea, but thankfully a friend sent me a link to a TED Talk by Jamie Shepherd who articulates this concept well. She argues that having a broken body doesn’t mean being a broken person, and “If we are to move towards our collective bliss, it’s time we shed our focus on the physical.” Enjoy this talk; I couldn’t have said it better myself!