Breaking down Misconceptions with Alex Burns

Disability Awareness Month is coming to a close and Alex is taking on some of the top myths regarding disabilities

Do all people with intellectual disabilities have the same abilities and challenges?

No, every individual member of the disability community is different and thus, have different abilities and challenges. For example, I have autism and Tourette Syndrome that affect how I interact with the world around me, and regarding my Tourette’s Syndrome, can sometimes distract me with certain thoughts and memories I'm thinking of, which can cause me to zone-out at times. Other members of the disability community can have disabilities that can prevent them from speaking or moving certain parts of their body.

Can people with intellectual disabilities learn new skills or information?

Yes, but every disabled individual will learn said skills and information in different ways and forms. For example, some disabled individuals will learn by seeing the information, some will learn by hearing the information.

Are intellectual disabilities the same as mental illness?

No, because disabilities are in no way some sort of disease or illness that can be cured.

Can people with intellectual disabilities hold jobs and contribute to the economy?

Yes, they just need the opportunity, support and resources to do so. I find that when I am given encouragement, support and patience from the world around me, I am motivated to work hard and thrive in the workplace.

Can intellectual disabilities be "cured" or can they "grow out of it"?

No, because disabilities are not something to be cured of, it is something one is born or gets diagnosed with in life and makes a person who they are.

Are all intellectual disabilities visible or easily identifiable?

No, some disabilities are harder to indentify and notice compared to others. This is because it really depends on what types of disabilities a certain individual has and what are the negative effects of having that specific type of disability.

Is intellectual disability contagious?

No, because it is something certain individuals are born with or get at some point in their lives that makes certain people who they are. It is not some sort of disease or illness that is either curable or contagious.

Are people with intellectual disabilities always happy or always in a certain mood?

Sadly no. This is because, like anyone’s life, they have their trials and tribulations within the world we live in that make certain aspects of their lives harder than they probably should be. This makes it all the more important regarding why we should support the disability community and tear down as many roadblocks as humanly possible to allow even more bridges and stepping stones regarding opening new pathways for greatness on behalf of disabled individuals.

Do people with intellectual disabilities understand the concept of right and wrong?

Yes, they do. As long as they are given resources and mentor figures that will steer them to the correct paths and aspects of life, they are capable of understanding the do’s and don'ts of our world, responsibility, getting a job, and above all, knowing what’s expected of them, while also living life to the fullest just like any other human being.