Quadriplegic Misconceptions

Category:  Opinions
Thursday, February 21st, 2019 at 10:11 AM

What is a quadriplegic? Most would give a simple answer. “It’s when all four limbs are disabled.”

That definition is a very vague representation of the actual meaning, though, and it took me becoming one to find out. The actual definition is, “being paralyzed at least some in all four limbs.” It’s not that big of a difference in definition, but the words impact greatly.

Let me give you an example. We all know that if someone cannot use their arms and legs, they are considered quadriplegic. What most people do not know is that someone can be considered quadriplegic if only their pinkies and big toes are paralyzed. It does not have to be the entirety of all of the limbs. It only needs to a piece of each limb.

Most quadriplegics are in this category. Take for instance me; I can still move my arms, but I cannot move my legs or my hands.

Most misconceptions of disability are taught early. When I was 16, I had a simple biology class that talked about paraplegia and quadriplegia. It frightened me. I would say to myself: “If I was either of them, I would want to be a para. At least I would have control of my arms.” To be honest, I think I might have jinxed myself.

I believe early education about disability needs to change. Most people are afraid to even talk to us. These misconceptions are only the starting point. People fear what they do not understand. A lot of early injuries and those born with disabilities are the ones who are hurt the most. They are the ones that are shoved in the back of class and ignored most of the time.

Sometimes they are even pitied. One of the worst things I see on social media is the “white knight” asking the “sad disabled girl” to prom. Prom is for close friends and dates. It is not to get the “I am the nice guy” reward.

In the end, basic education of disability needs to change. If we keep teaching these misconceptions, the gap between disability and ability will keep growing. Do you disagree? Let me know what you think.

Beau Bruneau | voices.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: voices

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