… I think it’s more empowering to say “I decided to stop” than to say “I can’t”. It’s OK to stop when there’s still a tiny chance that you might have been able to succeed.
There are different reasons why people decide to stop doing things.
One reason is that they reach the conclusion that they probably aren’t capable of doing the thing. Probably
That’s different than reaching the conclusion that they don’t want to do it, or that it’s not worth doing, or that they’d rather do something else.
Actually this reminds me of something I’ve seen - often disabled kids who can’t do something will pretend that they’re refusing to do the thing. And that they’re refusing to do the thing on purpose in order to provoke the teachers. When everyone involved thinks that’s what’s happening, things can get really bad really quickly.
(Particularly if the thing is something like a kid going nonverbal and pretending that they’re refusing to speak and are just making animal noises to be rude).
Inability to do things is real, and it’s important for people to know their limits and take them seriously.
Acknowledging limits makes it much more possible to do things than pretending not to have any.
Ignoring reality isn’t empowering.
And it’s legitimate to say “I can’t” when what you mean is “it’s possible that I might technically be able to do it, but it’s risky and dangerous, and I couldn’t function if I took that kind of risk routinely”.
(This is in fact a meaning of “can’t” used by people without disabilities all the time.)
the bolded—i have seen this happen SO MANY TIMES. kids with undiagnosed disabilities who become disruptive during reading time and are assumed to be bratty (i have been guilty of this too) and then like a year later somebody FINALLY figures out that the problem was that the kid had a disability that made it really hard for them to read, the whole time. or who would run around and knock things over and make a lot of noise, and then later it turns out they have chronic pain or sensory or nerve issues that make it hard for them to sit still. et cetera. so many times.
This happens a lot with kids who *are* diagnosed, too. Kids learn that being perceived as obnoxious and defiant is better than being perceived as (the only good term I can think of for this is a slur.)
Because, like, for instance, if you’re autistic and can sort of pass and can cover all your impairments by appearing defiant, then you’re ~so high functioning~ and ~just need to learn to apply yourself more~ and ~of course bright kids will have trouble socially~. And it’s awful and you get in trouble a lot, but it does afford some level of protection.
If you are openly impaired in all the same ways, that can lead to ~well maybe he needs a more structured environment~, and ~I’m not trained to accommodate her needs~ and ~there’s an intensive therapy for that~.
Of course, being perceived as defiant is also dangerous, but it’s sometimes much less dangerous than being perceived as disabled.