Disability Attorneys on Common Myths About Disability
While there have been a large number of advances in the way people living with disabilities are viewed and treated, which we have previously covered in our RGG Law blog, there are still some unfortunately prevalent myths and misconceptions about disability. As experienced disability attorneys, we know that this can make it harder to successfully apply for social security disability benefits, as these ideas can creep into all corners of society, skewing ideas and pushing people toward assumptions and judgments.
At RGG Law, we believe that it is part of our commitment to help those with disabilities get the support they need, so our disability attorneys and disability lawyers have offered to dispel some of the most common ones.
Learning Disabilities Mean a Lack of Intelligence
For many people, especially if they lack experience working with people with learning disabilities, there is a common perception that those who do have them are not as intelligent overall as the average person. This can apply to an enormous range of learning disabilities, from dyslexia (inability to understand written words) to dyscalculia (inability to understand numbers or math).
The problem here primarily stems from the way our education system measures ability through standardized testing. While this may be effective on a mass scale, it has also created the belief that skills such as reading, writing, and mental arithmetic are “basic” skills that anyone can master. In truth, an inherent inability to grasp these concepts does not take away from other forms of intelligence. Someone who cannot read may have an instinctive grasp of complex math or vice versa. Being able to think critically, to analyze or to present or express ideas are all key skills that are not necessarily impacted by a basic learning disability.
Using a Wheelchair Means You Cannot Walk
Once again, to someone without much exposure to disability, someone using a wheelchair would suggest they are unable to walk, either because of an accident or a chronic condition. And, once again, this is not true. There are many conditions where walking a short or moderate distance is possible, and a wheelchair is only required because of the onset of pain or severe fatigue.
A key example of this is Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a condition that causes mobility issues that can very from day to day. This means that someone with a disability sticker on their car might get out and walk into a store one day, but need a wheelchair to make the same trip the next.
Unfortunately, a misunderstanding of this, and similar conditions leads others to judge the sufferer as faking it, taking advantage of those with “real” disabilities, simply because theirs is not obvious. As disability attorneys, RGG Law has seen many cases wherein infrequent wheelchair users have been pressured or aggressively questioned as to how or why they are sometimes able to walk due to this particular stigma.
Employees With Disabilities Are Absent More Often
In many workplaces, there is an assumption that an employee who lives with a disability is more likely to take time off more frequently than an employee who does not. This is another myth, driven by the old fashioned idea that someone with a known disability is in some way weaker or less capable.
While this assumption might not be malicious, it is no less damaging to the confidence of an employee who has perfect attendance and yet is expected to request more time off, and more accommodations, than the rest of their co-workers. In fact, some surveys have actually demonstrated that companies have found workers with disabilities tend to have better attendance than others.
Mental Health Issues Make People Dangerous
Our disability attorneys have looked at the issues surrounding mental health issues as disabilities in the past, focusing on the idea of an “invisible” disability that can be hard for people to take seriously. Unfortunately, in cases of mental health, when it is taken seriously, it can be just as damaging.
While some prefer to shrug off the idea of mental health problems as nonexistent, or something that the person living with the issue should shrug off or get over, those who believe it often tend to react with fear. Largely thanks to media portrayal, a large number of mental health issues are perceived as dangerous – particularly conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar depression. For someone who lives with a mental health issue, even getting the best treatment cannot stop others acting wary or cautious, which can lead to anxiety and depression in itself.
Contact RGG Law’s Disability Attorneys
Misconceptions and myths about disability are hard to change. While progress is slow, you should know that help is out there.
If you are living with a disability and are struggling to get a start on applying for social security benefits, or have even found yourself denied them, contact one of our disability attorneys at RGG Law today. With years of experience and an understanding of the challenges faced every day, we are dedicated to securing benefits for those who need them.