Disability doesn't come with extra time and energy

I’ve heard a lot of advocates of inclusion say things like “kids with disabilities work twice as hard as everyone else” or “my employees with Down’s syndrome never come in late or take a day off.”

This sounds like praise, but it isn’t.

The time disabled people spend working twice as hard as everyone else has to come from somewhere.

There are reasons why kids aren’t in school every waking moment. There is a reason why vacation time exists and why it’s normal to be late occasionally.

People need rest. People need leisure time. People have lives and needs and can’t do everything.

Being disabled doesn’t erase the need for down time. Being disabled doesn’t erase the need for play, or for connections to other people.

Working twice as hard as everyone else all the time isn’t sustainable. Praising disabled people for doing unsustainable things is profoundly destructive.

People with disabilities should not have to give up on rest, recreation, and relationships in order to be valued. We have limited time and energy just like everyone else, and our limitations need to be respected.

It is not right to expect us to run ourselves into the ground pretending to be normal. We have the right to exist in the world as we really are.