Do you consider yourself to be disabled?
This phrase appears on many job application forms, usually as part of an equal opportunities form. Questions cover things like nationality, gender and sexual orientation.
I wonder about this question. What does this mean? In this context what does the word disabled mean? What does the word 'consider' mean?
I am visually impaired, I know that I can't see as well as most other people, I know that, for example, I'll never be able to get a driving licence. I know that I probably won't recognise a close friend, my wife or one of my children if they approach me in the street unless they call out “Hi Mark, it's X". I know that I need my computer screen to be very close to me and even as I write this I have the font size set to 24.
How to respond?
So, back to the question - “Do I consider myself to be disabled?”, how should I respond? I recognise that I have limitations and face challenges that many don't. I know that I can't really do many of the things that fully sighted people can do easily. But, do I feel disabled? I don't really know what it is to consider myself disabled. I lead a pretty full life complete with all the joys and frustrations that other people face but, what does it actually mean when it says “do you consider yourself to be disabled?”
Do I face challenges? Do I find some things difficult? Would I prefer to be able to see better? Well, yes, to all of the above. But, do I consider myself to be disabled...