A.k.a. "I'm able-bodied. This thing is for disabled people. Can I use it?"
The answer is not always no! You can often figure it out by asking yourself just 2 additional questions.
Curb cuts are those places on street corners where the sidewalk curb slopes gently down to the street.
They also make life easier for parents pushing strollers, travelers pulling wheeled suitcases, and other folks who happen to be traveling on the sidewalk with something heavy.
How do you tell which accommodations are which? Two questions.
Disabled parking spaces are an example of a limited resource. There are only a few in any parking lot. When they are used up, they are used up (until someone leaves).
Not every thing is limited in the way that parking spaces are.
Once a video file is given closed captions, an unlimited number of people can view them anytime.
A hearing person watching a video using closed captions is not somehow taking those captions away from a Deaf/HoH person.
(Some disabilities are not visible. Please don't police strangers' use of resources like this. Just keep it in mind for yourself.)
If an item is being mass produced by a large company, for example, this usually means there is enough of it for everyone, but not always. It can get complicated.
Does your (an able-bodied person's) use of the thing inconvenience disabled people in some way?
This is less about what the thing is, and more about what you are doing with it in the moment. Example to follow.
BUT, if you stop on a ramp to chat with someone and block the way for wheelchair users, that is a problem.
Able-bodied people can go around you using any of the routes available. Disabled people often have just the one ramp, and if it's blocked, they are stuck.
I often hear people asking if they are being appropriative by using something that was originally for disabled people.
IMO, this is not the right question to ask.
IMO thinking about these contextual factors is more useful than trying to define what appropriation means for disability.
In my experience these people are often the most concerned about disability appropriation. They should not be.
Lacking a specific diagnosis doesn't mean your needs are not valid.
Go ahead and use the thing. Please.
Your needs are valid.
It is a topic I see a lot of fear and confusion about but it is usually pretty simple!
Thanks for reading.
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