New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense

Disability Is Natural Books and Media

Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open.

Thomas Dewar

It begins very early: professionals tell the parents of a baby with a disability what rights, assistance, and services the child and/or parents are entitled to under federal and/or state laws and programs. This exercise—“these are your rights”—continues throughout the person’s life, and in the process, the Entitlement Mentality is born.

Entitlements for people with disabilities are many and varied: early intervention services, special education services, therapies, vocational-rehabilitation, day programs, housing/residential, SSI (Supplemental Security Income), and more. While some of these may not fall under the “legal entitlement” category, they’re loosely lumped together for this article.

Few in Disability World—parents, people with disabilities, activists and advocates, service providers—are exempt from the Entitlement Mentality. Parents and people with disabilities are basically told, “This [the system] is the way...” And, actually, deciding whether or not to enter the system is a choice, but that’s not usually on the table for discussion. Instead, “recipients of services” are often led to believe they must agree to the services offered (and they’re often made to feel guilty if they don’t eagerly sign up). Thus, the slide into to the Entitlement Mentality happens so easily that we often don’t realize it’s happening. In the process, we often lose our common sense, autonomy, personal responsibility, and more.​ Click here to continue.

The Entitlement Mentality