Graduate (employed)Spinal cord injuryFemaleCaucasianSenior (unemployed)BlindMaleAsian AmericanGraduate (employed)Deaf–oralMaleCaucasianGraduate (employed)844M.M. Kim and B.C. Williams
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each viewed disability in different ways, suggesting that there is no single way todefine it. Participants offered varying personal insights, some depicting disability asa daily occurrence and others describing the physiological aspects of disability.Our interview data suggest that even within the same college community, stu-dents with disabilities describe disability and impairment with a variety of termsand viewpoints. Nancy said:‘Disability is painful; it is a beast.’Joan noted:‘A dis-ability is a full-time job where it doesn’t go away. It’s 24/7; my job never ends.’But in contrast, Joan described disability as something to be proud of when she sta-ted:‘I will be proud to say I have a disability.’Nancy stated:‘The fact is that I have a spinal cord injury that doesn’t look pain-ful, but it is a beast.’During the interview, this participant was in obvious pain. Infact, the interview was stopped brieﬂy for her to take medication. The participantmay see her disability as more of a medical issue, with residuals that affect dailyactivities (her ability to sit for prolonged periods) and work. Thefindings suggestthat disability can be viewed within the context of the Nagi model of disability(Nagi 1965), wherein the conditions of disability are referred to as the‘pathologyor disease process of disability’(Nagi 1965, 101). As a result of the medical pathol-ogy, each individual experiences functional restrictions and limitations.The participants freely discussed their limitations and experiences. On occa-sion, students discussed their feelings about how others perceived them, indicatingthat they felt inadequate or ignored. Nancy spoke about her experiences whenshe wasfirst injured and had to use a wheelchair. She stated:‘I felt like every-body was looking at my wheelchair. That’s what I felt like. Instead of listeningto me…’This excerpt provides information on how she felt people viewed heras a person with a physical disability and how they appeared to ignore her. Inaddition, disability and impairment were portrayed by some individuals as‘anembarrassment’,‘I felt inadequate’, or‘disability is about disclosure.’This typeof self-definition and expression often appears to be similar to the feeling ofSchutz’s stranger who encountered a new‘standardized scheme.’The followingtestimonies reﬂect some awkward feelings about disability disclosure that the par-ticipants share:I am always sort of not sure how to broach [mention] the whole disabled thing, espe-cially when you’re applying for a position. I still haven’t reallyfigured out how to dothat because you don’t want to walk in there and be disabled.
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