The Abilities in Your Disabilities

Disabilities: an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.

An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.

Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. – World Health Organization, Disabilities.

According to Oxford Dictionary of Current English, a disability is “a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses or activities. It is a disadvantage.”

Disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person’s life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person’s lifetime. – Wikipedia

One thing many do not understand is that disabilities is common to everyone, but the ones often and usually noticed is the physical disability that is easily seen in the person having the disability. The society, in my opinion, has not made life easy for people with disability as they are most times ostracised from the society, not until recent times when things have put in place to cater for people living with a disability.

The aim of this post is not a debate on what the society or government should do for the disabled, rather, it focuses on what people with any form of disability can do for themselves; that is –finding their unique abilities in their disabilities.

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Before going into the gist of the post, I’ll touch briefly on some categories of disabilities, which are: physical disability, the most popular of them all; intellectual disability; mental disability etc.


One thing everyone should come to terms with is that the fact a person has a disability does not mean s/he doesn’t have unique gifts different from others around him that would help him/her achieve his/her life goals if utilised efficiently.

A disadvantage that a disabled person can bring to himself is to use his disability as a tool to get pity from those around him.

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No difference exists between an able-bodied and a disabled person, save for the limitations they have. In terms of the values they can add to the society and to themselves, all it takes is to find their unique abilities and use it maximally, with proper support from people around them.

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For instance, being blind is a loss of sight, however, it does not affect the other senses nor the thinking faculty of the person; this is the same for a person without legs.

Despite the number of disabled people who have not been given a chance to live like any other normal person, there are a handful of disabled people who have found their unique abilities and made impacts with it.

One person is Cobhams Asuquo, though blind, he did not allow his lack of sight to impair his ability to make good music and play the keyboard. We also have examples of people like Helen Keller, Pythagoras, Nick Vujicic, Tanni Grey-Thompson, to mention a few.

My charge to as disabled folks as well as the people who help them is to ensure that adequate support is given to disabled people so that they can look within and find out their unique abilities that they could use to influence their society as well as make their own lives better.

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