The Assumption of Laziness

Lately my ears have perked up to the put-down of labeling someone as “lazy.” Often snidely said it’s simplistic, seems dismissive, and doesn’t take into account access concerns for folks with disabilities. While scrolling through social media pages I feel small bursts of flames ignite each time I stumble across this ableist albatross. I must gather my thoughts and extinguish some ignorance of the uninitiated…

On assuming laziness:

If you’ve never had to consider how you’d get from your car onto a sidewalk with no curb cut, into a store/business/residence with step(s) and no hand railings or accessible, flat level, wheelchair-width entry (ideally 36″)

or figure out how you’d hold open a heavy door and time it so you move just before it boots you in the butt and knocks you off balance..

If you’ve never had to conserve your liquid and solid food intake because you weren’t certain of an accessible restroom break..

then the idea of conservation of energy coupled with safety to give peace of mind *not* duplicity of disability just.. might… escape… your radar.

Outpacing others in thought, talk, walk or whatever does not make one superior but might mean that the metrics of “success” and self-esteem need to be recalculated sans comparison to others-whose faculties differ in varying degrees.

Consider that many of us can’t “try harder” or “just focus on the positive” to appease your comfort level and sense of well-being. Even still if the aforementioned is done disability still dictates the necessity of accommodations.

 And maybe your experience i.e. ease of mobility just might be clouding your judgement.

Some of us have friends and family whose homes we rarely/never visited and it ain’t due to a lack of will power it’s because of …*gulp*…access barriers.

12 thoughts on “The Assumption of Laziness

  1. Oh, I hear you. The ‘lazy’ thing gets me going to. Yeah, it’s lazy for me to push my fat ass in a wheelchair using the small muscles of the arms rather than the large muscles of the legs. Yep. Lazy. That’s me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this because not only does it speak to a physical disability, it also speaks to a number of different disabilities or inabilities that one person might have. Students who have learning disabilities, for example, have the exact same issues of shamming, if you will… These students are considered lazy or unwilling to try harder, when the matter has a much deeper root. People don’t understand just how much effort it takes to acclimate to a world built on being perfect.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was with a vocational rehabilitation program that paid for my college courses. Not only did they dictate what majors I could and couldn’t study based on the local job market, but I was forced to go full time. This was because it was “how most people did it”. The constant overload of frustration led to many meltdowns and I actually ended up being suspended from college for a couple days. I had to write a letter of apology to the dean to get back to my classes. I tried to get the program to be more accomodating, but the response was “you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. I tried to take the next semester off due to the stress, but they wouldn’t allow it- again, because most people don’t take semesters off like that. It was then that I dropped out of the program. I felt “lazy” because I couldn’t keep up with the program’s demands.

    A friend’s daughter, who’s a few years older than me, had this same problem. She joined the program after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car crash. The requirement to attend full time was so overwhelming to her, she couldn’t perform well academically and felt stupid because she couldn’t keep up with the courses.

    And they make it all out to be our fault. This program is an epic fail.


    • Hi Stephanie: I understand, been on both sides—as a client of voc rehab and as a member of my state’s rehab council. Sorry that has been your experience and imagine how frustrating it all must have been. Ideally, working with school’s disability office, dean of students, registrar, etc should be a more fluid and mutually beneficial experience and when it isn’t it’s a loss for all. Why you weren’t allowed to take a semester off is a head=scratcher since I did just that and returned the following semester after having my daughter.

      I hope you feel encourage to go back to school or seek out another program if that’s what you want to do. Also, be open to non-traditional routes of “success” and customize a plan that’s right for you and is a good fit. Check out online courses and free courses from sites like: and

      Hope this info was helpful, feel free to connect again. I love sharing tips/resources/info etc. I come across. I share lots on Facebook and FB has some great disability groups, “Disability Visibility Project” -great curation of disability-related articles and group has many disability advocates, academics and allies.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience, all the best to you!


  4. Now that I know what I *really* want to study in college (took five years to figure it out), I plan to seek financial aid and scholarships. Ideally, I’d like to return next fall to study physics and possibly mechanical engineering, because my goal now is to work with particle accelerators.

    But yeah, the program was so bad for me, I ended up feeling like I’d just B.S.’ed my way through my high school senior project, which focused on art. They would not pay for any art related classes. I think I asked about physics, too, and got the same answer. It just really kills your confidence and ambition. It felt like I was being forced to “get in line” with the rest of society, and what I really wanted to do was not realistically acheivable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. People don’t get it. I have severe lung disease. When I was in high school, we were taken outside at gym class and informed that we were going to take the Presidential Fitness Test. The teacher pointed at the track and told me to run around it while she timed me. I tried to protest but she bullied me into it (this was over forty years ago, no ADA, and I was a quiet shy child.) Didn’t even make it a third of the way, ended up in the hospital. Mother, who was, and still is, neither quiet nor shy, nearly took the teacher’s head off.


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