Do you have a disability if you don’t have an official diagnosis?

The short answer is “absolutely.” The long answer, of course, is more complicated than that.

1. Any condition of the body or mind (impairment)

2. That makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions)

1. ha[ve] a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more “major life activities,” or;

2. ha[ve] a record of such an impairment, or;

3. [are] regarded as having such an impairment.

Why does this matter?

The definition of a disability starts with the individual experiencing the condition.

If you don’t have a diagnosis, you still have a disability.

If you refuse treatment for your condition, you still have a disability.

None of these people saw me as a person with a disability.

They saw me as a person who was not seeking what THEY thought was the most appropriate treatment for MY condition

And then discriminated against me because of their half-baked beliefs.

But people DO fake disabilities …

If I, someone with multiple disabilities some of which I’ve had from birth, can’t tell who is disabled from who is faking a disability.

Guess what — neither can you.

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

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