Am I Disabled Enough?

Explore the journey of self-advocacy and overcoming imposter syndrome for individuals with visual impairments, emphasizing the importance of utilizing available resources and accommodations to succeed professionally.

Am I Disabled Enough?
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"Am I disabled enough?" It's a question that haunts many of us living with visual impairments, especially when it comes to seeking accommodations. We're caught in this odd tango of needing help and not wanting to be a bother. But here's a little secret: advocating for yourself is not just your right; it's a necessity.

I've been there, doing the imposter syndrome waltz. With vision hovering on the border of being legally blind while still being able to drive with Bioptics. I often find myself questioning if I'm "disabled enough" to ask for help. Should I just squint a bit harder at the screen? Maybe if I tilt my head at a 45-degree angle, I can make out that email. But here's the cheeky truth: If you're choreographing your body into a pretzel to read an email, you might just need some accommodations.

There's this misconception that asking for help or accommodations is making trouble for others. Spoiler alert: it's not. In fact, workplaces and environments become richer, more diverse, and frankly, more fun when they're inclusive. Your needs aren't an inconvenience; they're a valuable perspective.

Interestingly, when it comes to programs to support people with disabilities, especially those organizations reliant on government funding, the participation of high-functioning individuals can be incredibly beneficial. Engaging with these programs doesn't take away opportunities from others. On the contrary, it contributes valuable data and success stories. These narratives play a crucial role in justifying funding for these programs and may even open doors for increased support and resources. Your active participation can bolster these programs, enhancing their ability to serve more people effectively.

When the world isn’t designed with your needs in mind, you’ve got to be your advocate. Trust me, the world doesn't roll out the red carpet for those with visual impairments. So, grab your metaphorical megaphone and make your voice heard. Need a screen magnifier? Ask for it. A more accessible workspace? Demand it. Remember, you're not asking for favors; you're ensuring you have what you need to succeed.

Here’s something I’ve learned: utilize every advantage you can get. Whether it’s adaptive technology, flexible scheduling, or just a better chair so you can see your screen without impersonating an owl, take it. These aren't special privileges; they're your tools to level the playing field.

So, am I disabled enough? The answer is it doesn't matter we all have impairments, but because we have the right to access opportunities like everyone else. Remember, advocating for yourself isn't just about you; it's about paving the way for those who follow in your footsteps and enhancing the programs that support us all.

In this dance of life, you don’t need anyone’s permission to lead. Create a world where your needs aren't just met; they're celebrated.