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Challenging stereotypes

Image of woman looking into cut-out body shapes with text ‘ What is a stereotype?’. A stereotype is a broad, often oversimplified assumption made about all members of a particular group.

Everyone is different; however, we have the tendency to surround ourselves with people who are like us.  When we engage with someone who is different to us, weather that be that they have a disability, they speak other language, they dress different to us or perhaps even have a different hair colour to us, we treat them different- we might not even be aware of this sometimes.

Unfortunately, everyone is judged at one point in their life. People can be judged on absolutely anything, with the underlying fact being, that they are different.    

Below is a list of stereotypes all heard by Community Champions throughout their lives (list originally created during Metro and Bunbury Champion training sessions):

  • Anyone who uses an ACROD parking space is in wheelchair
  • Always need days off work
  • People who are visually impaired need a guide dog
  • Can only play sport with other people with a disability
  • People with disability can’t be a parent
  • Need a carer with them to make decisions
  • Get everything for free and cost the government billions
  • Cant be trusted with social media
  • Too ‘disabled’ to drive

It often takes a simple conversation with someone to completely change their assumptions and stereotypes.  By using your own lived experience with disability, you can change people’s attitudes and stereotypes towards disability.

By acknowledging stereotypes and myths you and other people living with a disability may be facing, you can work towards change as a community champion by using your lived experience.

Below you will complete an activity in which, using the stereotypes you have identified, challenge these by listing things you have done and/or completed in your life. Using the swimmers case study from the previous topic, an example is shown below.

I amBut I can
Living with a physical disability Swim the Rottnest channel
Unable to drive a ‘regular car’Drive a car with a left foot accelerator