Speaking with my sister about disability seems like a natural conversation. The only thing is that my sister Sara does not see disability the same way as me. Sara has a harder time putting her finger on exactly what the term even means. Her reaction made me think of why it seemed to be such a clear cut thing in my mind. I began to question if it even was as simple as I had been making it. Sara had opened my eyes to the possibility that disability is like a shapeshifting animal that is difficult to define. Sara brought up our friend Dave. He has recently been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Sara brought this up because he has been a friend of ours and after struggling for a while has finally found out a diagnosis so he can begin to cope with what is going on.
Sara processes things slowly and takes her time to consider all of the aspects of change. Having known Dave since we were both children, this is a change in Sara’s mind, Of course for him as well. Sara was born with Down syndrome, she is very high functioning compared to some others with Down’s. Thinking of someone gaining a disability is a strange concept for us all, but Sara has had to deal with the topic of disability her entire life. Sara hears many of her loved ones talking about disability on an almost daily basis.
Our mother, Debra Ruh, and I both work in the disability advocacy realm and it is a constant topic of discussion for both work and personal life. Recently GLOBI has began to ask for submissions to their global #DrawDisability campaign. When we told Sara about the initiative she was excited and wanted to contribute artwork for them. They are asking people all around the world of all ages to draw what disability means to them. Sara’s first choice to draw on the topic was the idea to create a portrait of Dave. What does disability mean to any of us?
To learn more about Globi and guidelines for #DrawDisability, please visit
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