#DontNeed2: Not “Handicapped”, and Not “Disabled” Either
Our Language within NubAbility
By Claire Mathews
At our camps, kids don’t get to say they “can’t.”
One of our excellent coaches, Kevin Ewing, came across a set of workout dice one year and brought them to All Sports Camp. The intention: if a coach catches a child saying “I can’t”, or “No”, the dice come out and that camper rolls them every time a negative thought is vocalized. You say you can’t? Too bad, roll the dice and go run your laps, or do your pushups or situps – whatever the dice land on. It worked brilliantly and the kids started to believe in their own capability. It caught on so well that Coach Sam ended up buying a set for all head coaches. These dice are still kept in a back pocket, just in case. If limb-different kids are told everywhere they go that they “can’t”, it’s not surprising that they show up to our camps with that mindset. NubAbility is here to eliminate those ideas.
There is often an assumption that due to physical differences, limb-different people have a “disability” and are unable to do the same things able-bodied people are. That is simply not true! Disabled people are thriving and reaching achievements everywhere, but here at NubAbility, we aren’t fans of the word “disabled”.
In order to get a full picture of how NubAbility identifies, let’s start with the name itself. It consists of two words: “nub” and “ability”. Nub is easy to define and is pretty self-explanatory; it’s a lighthearted name limb-different folks use for their missing limb. Ability, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is, “the quality or state of being able; physical, mental… power to do something”.
So, NubAbility, as a word, is the state of being able WITH a nub. Now, let’s look at the word disabled. The prefix “Dis” essentially means “not”, making the full meaning of the word “not abled”. The same applies to disability: “does not have ability”. At NubAbility, we wholly and vehemently disagree that anyone with a limb difference is disabled. We have seen our limb-different campers and coaches reach astounding new heights and break records not only in mainstream sports, but in life. They may do things a little differently, but they still CAN. And often they can do it better! Kids at our camps don’t get to say they “can’t” because to us, what you’re capable of is limited only by attitude.
NubAbility exists to prove to everyone that limb-different kids CAN play at the mainstream level, and WILL dominate the competition. Limb-different kids are most definitely NOT disabled in any way at our camps; they are only abled differently. Our limb-different coaches help power that statement by showing the campers and their families that not only is it possible to achieve with a limb-difference, but they can EXCEL! We teach these kids that if you set a goal and work hard, the sky’s the limit. With a NubAbility attitude, you can do anything.
NEWSLETTER SIGN UP
Join our NubAbility® mailing list to hear about upcoming adaptive sport camp announcements, feel good stories and more. Stay connected!