How I Fail at Being Disabled | Susan Robinson

Born with a genetic visual impairment, Susan Roberson is legally blind or as she prefers, “partially sighted.” She introduces herself with a humorous introduction of an Asian man as her mother. She has disdain for the term “disabled” because it forms a mindset of “less than” rather than recognizing a person’s potential. It brings about bias that is sometimes hidden but invariably leads others to look at the negative implications of what cannot be done rather than what can. She humorously notes that one should fail at being disabled. She gives five tips for doing this.

Tip 1 is knowing one’s superpowers to emphasize strengths as opposed to inability.

Tip 2 is to be supremely skilled at getting it wrong even if it involves fakery. That is, have fun with one’s mistakes and move on.

Tip 3 is to know that everyone is disabled in some way. Use your own strengths to know that others have much the same problems.

Tip 4 is to point out the disabilities in others so as to lend help and to know it’s commonplace. The powers she perfected over the years have made her more perceptive than many.

Tip 5 is to purse audacious goals and do the unexpected. That is to say, take on goals that will astound others.

Key Points:

  • 1Susan Robinson is a legally blind business person and speaker, who refuses to put herself into a box, to fit other people’s notions of what disabled should mean.
  • 2She is highly wary of the word disabled as it puts forth a mindset that erodes people’s expectation of others potential and more.
  • 3Robinson reminds us that everyone has super-powers, often emerging from the very things presuming to be disabling, and everyone has so-called disabilities, even so-called normal peoples.


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