The Disability Card

I do not consider myself a gamer, but I have enough friends who are to know every card in a deck has strengths and weaknesses; it simply depends on strategy. The disability card is best known for “I can’t do that because of my disability.” Other common uses of the disability card would be “My life is worse than your life because I’m disabled” and “Things are so much harder for me because I am disabled.” You might even hear someone use it to convey, “I work so much harder than a lot of other people because I am disabled.”

Use of the disability card is most often done with honesty, but honest is not always conveyed in ways that maintain dignity. Sometimes people make powerful statements with passion and later regret the way they communicated their messages. The disability card holds a significant amount of passion in it’s message. The individual playing it needs to be aware of the emotional tone and potential interpretations the disability card evokes. 

The disability card is either a plea for help, a justification, an excuse, an opportunity to vent, or a call to justice. To play the card effectively, you have to be aware of your intent. Society already knows having a disability stinks, so the disability card is really an announcement everyone already knows. In addition, no one at work is going to directly disagree with it, but if you use the disability card at work then you might find people taking the long way around your desk to avoid you. 

People with disabilities want to be treated like equals and with respect. If people without disabilities are constantly facing the disability card in conversation or task completion, the situation becomes a me versus you, disabled versus non disabled encounter. Tension around the person who plays the disability card is often high. People with disabilities are more likely to be treated as equal and with respect when they can remain approachable.

All I am saying is this: avoid using the disability card unless it is absolutely necessary and does not make others feel like you’re a jerk. 


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