Widespread Hate Against Disabilities


Elijah Henry, Reporter

Having any disability or learning impairment can be a struggle. As someone diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), there are struggles at every turn. Whether it be adapting to a new environment or even the little things such as learning in school or doing day to day activities, there can always be building blocks that make life a struggle. With this, there are still people that are uneducated on the topic of disability, and even use it as a way to ridicule them.

Growing up, I was never told about my ASD. I didn’t get diagnosed until I was 14 years old. When I finally got my diagnosis, everything felt new but not in a good way. It changed my view on things, and I noticed things that I hadn’t before. When I got my diagnosis, I planned to learn about it so I could educate myself and others on what it’s really like. 

I also noticed that parts of the St.Joseph community and some communities around the county have little knowledge about any disability. I constantly see hate or ridicule on social media and around me in school, however more so on social media. Many times, I even overhear laughing or mocking directed towards the students in the special education program. 

A recent study was conducted to determine the amount of people that are diagnosed with ASD and what they found was that approximately 2.2 percent of adults in the United States are diagnosed with ASD. Not only ASD, the Center for Disease Control also records that 1 in 4 adults have some type of disability. These are mostly learning disabilities, with 1 in 5 people having some sort of learning disability. 

These numbers add up quickly, resulting in 86 million Americans with some sort of disability. And while we do have support for children in schools with IEPs, 504s, and other learning plans, students with disabilities have been a target for a while. Some people may need different types of accommodations, others may need a little bit of support like any other person. 

Social media is a breeding ground for hate and beration. I use many social medias myself such as TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat, which means I can see and browse the internet. From my experience, nearly every video or clip I’ve seen of someone with any disability either talking about it, or documenting something, has hate on it. It could be comments, direct messages sent to them, or any other form of communication. Some people have even received threats on their lives just because they posted something on a social media platform. With low moderation on these platforms, it cannot be stopped. 

Obviously there needs to be some changes within our communities. Just because me and these other 86 million Americans have a disability doesn’t mean we do not have feelings or aren’t human. Nobody is perfect and not one person is the same, but that does not give any right to berate these innocent people.