While it's easier to identify the challenges and barriers you face every day with a disability, it's important to look at the glass half full. Believe it or not there can be benefits to living with a disability in an able-bodied world!
Close parking! In most public spaces across the United States, you can usually count on a designated handicapped spot to save your arms from some pushing or your legs some steps.
Discounts! I used to get offended when offered children's menu prices or elderly discounts at movie theaters, but I also love a good bargain. Often discounts are offered by facilities that are not completely accessible or ADA compliant, so don't feel offended, take advantage! It's one thing that you can access that others cannot and that does not happen very often in the world of a person living with a disability!
Opportunities! I have been offered many positive opportunities and experiences because of my disability such as speaking engagements, offers to sit in on panels, meet people from around the world and make a difference in others' lives - all opportunities that would not have happened without the presence of disability in my life.
A fresh perspective! Disability does not touch everyone, yet those that it does touch gain a perspective on life that can help strengthen relationships with others and educate communities to think in new ways – in ways that can benefit various community members.
When insecurities creep up and barriers throw themselves in your way it can be easy to focus on the negative, but keeping a few positive memories in your back pocket like the ones above can help keep things in perspective and balance the positive with the negative.
Having a disability is not something that should be focused on negatively – it should be something to celebrate and share with others! On the hard days, focusing on the positive can be a challenge; however celebrating our lives and sharing our experiences with others is what will ultimately break down those barriers and weaken the challenges that currently stand in our way.
What's one positive benefit in your disability experience? Tell us about it in the comments!