Nelson (2003) claims that “journalists are often influenced by the stereotypes they see in popular media images. These stereotypes are then subconsciously reflected when journalists write about disability or do not think to include disability in a relevant story”.
Some people think that people with disability issues need pity and lacking ability. This is sometimes perpetuated by “fund raising telethon” designed to make people feel bad for people with disability issues. Nelson (2003) claim that people often think that people with disabilities need to be cared for and can be a drain on family, friends and the rest of society, therefore they are considered a burden. They are often lumped into a category of the “super-crip”. A super-crip is considered to be a person with a disability that “Through great courage, stamina, and determination, the person either triumphs or heroically succumbs. This leaves people who already have productive lives to feel inadequate”. Many of my friends know that I have three teenagers with autism. Many people who have a genuine interest in knowing about my kids’ disability have asked me if any of my kids where “like that guy in Rain Man”. This goes back to the “super-crip” mentality. Note that this is not my choice of words for people with disability that have overcome a tremendous amount, but a characterization that Nelson (2003) uses to hammer home the problems with stereo-typing. I kindly explained that in reality, people like the guy in Rain Man does not reflect the majority of the population of people with autism and that this is a generalization.
Nothing good comes from stereo-typing. People with disability have been created in the image of God just like the rest of us. We all have strengths, weakness and different personalities which makes us all unique.