Tools for Constructive Disability Management: A Pragmatic Approach to Label Use within Disability Discourse
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The appearance of normal functioning is by no means a truthful representation of any experience of impediment that may be hindering someone in living the best life she could live. For someone to function well by her own lights, coping constructively would require her to acknowledge her experience of impediment, so she can find out what she needs for compensation in terms of practical tools, techniques and strategies. Her actions would then be aimed at satisfying the needs substantiated from her experience and would as such be constructive to her personal functioning. Many people with disabilities, however, feel that acknowledging their experience of impediment under labels would only diminish their chance on leading an approximately normal life, because it would define them and the actions that would be appropriate for someone who is categorised under a particular label. However, taking distance from labels in order to measure up to a normal standard of functioning as a way of disability management despite experiencing impediment would not likely decrease the experience nor improve personal functioning. This thesis proposes that labels should rather be understood as filters for determining suitable actions aimed at satisfying particular practical needs. A label would therefore exist by virtue of its ability to filter out need-dedicated actions for improving personal functioning.