Benchmarking Disability – Religion and Politics

The first thing I need to do with this article is to “disclaim.” I’m not suggesting a “real” or “complete” process for “benchmarking” disability. Rather, I intend to talk about the consideration of the seriousness of various disabilities as well as what considerations can and probably should be used to “benchmark” disability.

One of the better things various social media platforms have done in the course of their quite checkered existence, is to do what they can to “reduce the footprint of” the various posts that are made to their “primary interfaces.” Unfortunately, there are a good many people who both seek to, and succeed in “bypassing” the various existing strictures employed by those entities.

The result is that people with little time to employ when dealing with those sites, and who are already overburdened with the intentional “minimal sizing” by virtue of sheer volume, have even less time and effort to devote to the things that matter to them where the various social media platforms are concerned.

I have said multiple times, that I am hardly excited by social media to begin with. I find that, but for a few people who I virtually never see in person (or have other mechanisms by which to interact in meaningful ways), I have little to no time for the concept at all.

As I’m sure is true even more often than even I realize, I’m sure about this point, that you’re wondering how on Earth this relates to the benchmarking of disabilities. Truth is, it doesn’t. The point of benchmarking disability is to help folks to understand that excessive posting on various (serious, but comparatively trivial) disabilities, and particularly doing so to excess, and in manners that make it hard to ignore (often using the aforementioned “workarounds”) is likely more detrimental than helpful.

Because this is the case, I wanted to take a moment to address the idea that served as the odd sort of impetus for this article,  that being the “benchmarking of” disabilities.

It is an uncommon thing for folks to spend more than an extremely small amount of time  thinking about the problems and concerns of others. Let’s face it, the majority of folks are sufficiently taken in their own lives—particularly if there are others counting on them for their wellbeing or even their very existence—to take a lot of time thinking or worry a great deal about the trials and tribulations of others.

The obvious problem with this is that folks tend to become convinced that they’re dealing with things the like of which nobody else has dealt. Further, there is a tendency to unintentionally “inflate” the things with which they’re dealing.

Lest you labor under the delusion that I am not equally subject to these tendencies, allow me to say here and now, you are mistaken. I, like so many, tend to look at my circumstances, and consider them dire, even though the reality is, there are a great many people under far heavier burdens than am I. Frankly, though it’s more serious than for a good many people, my position in life is not terribly bad.

That being said, I wanted to take a moment to discuss some “common sense” views about disability.

To begin with, I maintain that to some level we are all disabled. The only question is, “To what degree?”

Let me give you some things about which you might think.

Let’s say your child has a speech impediment, or dyslexia. An important question you might ask yourself is, “How long and how badly is this disability likely to affect my child?”

For something like dyslexia, it’s very likely that it will affect that individual for the rest of his or her life. Even so, it’s probable that he or she will “overcome” many of the more serious issues related to it with the reasonable help and support of family, friends, educators, therapists and others.

I’m not belittling or “trashing” those who consider the child’s condition to be potentially serious, but let me point something out.

I have a niece who has a child born quite early (to the point where she may have been one for the record books, and may be still). She survived and is thriving today, but it needs to be strongly and solidly understood that she was fighting for her very life from the moment of her “birth,” if not before (and I think it quite fair to say before).

That child struggled to survive for many months and at some point, finally she got to the point where her parents were able to take her home from the hospital. Today, it’s hard for an outsider looking in to see that there are any struggles in her life. Rest assured, if her mother is to be believed (and of course, she is), she still suffers many “latent symptoms” of having been “born a micro-preemie.”

The chances are good she will deal with various issues for the rest of her life (which we, of course hope and pray will be long and well-lived).

On hearing a story like this one, it becomes a lot harder to look at something like a speech impediment to be quite so serious.

I certainly consider the plight of that little girl to have been, and continue to be serious. Eves so, I feel the need to talk for just a moment about my son.

When my youngest child was born, though he was a bit early, it seemed as though he would be a normal, healthy little boy. It wasn’t until he hit about eighteen months that we began to see that, where he was physically healthy, he was “suffering” mentally from some condition that would prove to be challenging to this day and well beyond. Garrett is seven now, and still lags significantly behind others his age.

Now in case you think I’m trying to put either my son or myself at the “top of the heap,” you should understand that he’s not even close. Even among those with Autism, he’s only considered “moderately Autistic,” the “high end” being severely so.

Autism will affect my child for the rest of his life and very possibly to the extent that he is unable to live on his own and be “master of his own destiny.”

Even so, people with more severe Autism are “more disabled” than Garrett has ever been or will ever be.

And it doesn’t “stop there.” There are folks out there who literally are on the edge of death more than not for their entire lives.

Final thought? I recognize that you or your child, or some person is dealing with something “above and beyond” that with which the average person must deal, but even children like my son, who are somewhat likely to never “outgrow” their disability are not as “disabled as one might be.”

When you plaster social media, or any other communication “platform” with the relatively mild disability suffered by you or another, you’re not doing any favors to those dealing with far worse and trying potentially to “get the word out.”

I beg you to keep this in mind.

Thanks for your attention and may your time be good.

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