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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

People with disabilities deserve respect

Megan Mann

Disabilities are closer to you than you think. Look at the person sitting next to you in class, your roommate, or even your best friend. How would you react if you found out that they had a disability like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, or hemophilia? Would finding that out change your opinion of them?

Take me, for example. I’ve heard the whispers and I’ve seen the scornful glances when I walk on the treadmill at the WREC or when I take the elevator instead of the stairs. People are quick to make assumptions, but what they don’t know is that I have Mitral Valve Prolapse, a heart murmur where my mitral valve doesn’t shut correctly causing blood to go back into my heart, enlarging it.

They also don’t know that if I raise my heart rate up too high, I am more susceptible to having a heart attack.

Does that make you think differently of me? Would you go looking for the signs of my condition, like when I choose decaf soda or coffee, or how I’m always wearing a heart shaped medical bracelet?

For some people, there’s no hiding their condition or the way people react to it. Jon Novick, a dwarf man in New York City, faces scorn everyday while he goes to film school. People call him derogatory names, ask him way too personal questions and even jump over him. Luckily, he doesn’t let it get him down and has instead turned their hate and ignorance into a documentary that has gained over 5 million views.

Truthfully, I’m thankful that my disability doesn’t take on any obvious physical attributes. Sure, it’d save all those rude glances and whispers, but people don’t treat me any differently because of my disorder.

And, really, isn’t that what people with disorders really want? That man in NYC certainly thinks so, and I agree.

Even if it’s glaringly obvious that someone suffers from a medical disorder or disability, please remember that they’re still people who go through the same experiences that you do.

Just because they have to deal with one extra thing that they can’t change doesn’t make them less human.

Deep down, we’re all the same. We have the same hopes, goals, and dreams, and we all are just trying to live the best life possible, regardless of what we’er individually facing.

Megan Mann can be reached at [email protected] or @meganisthemann on Twitter.

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