Negative Prognoses and

the Disability Double Standard

Disability Is Natural Books and Media


New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense

Never deny the diagnosis, but always deny the negative prognosis.

Norman Cousins

You’re the parent of a precious three-year-old daughter who does not have a disability. At the end of a routine medical check-up, the pediatrician solemnly announces, “Mrs. Brown, I’m sorry to tell you this—but I don’t think your daughter will be college material, so I suggest you begin planning a different path for her…”

What if this happened to you? (Furthermore, what if someone told the doctor something similar about his child?) Most people say they’d think, “Who does this doctor think he is—trying to predict my child’s future…putting limits on her potential…telling me not to dream big dreams for her! How does he know what’s possible?”

Most people say they would also be appalled and angry, would not believe this “quack,” would change doctors immediately, would tell others not to take their children to such a jerk, and their righteous indignation would be justified! Furthermore, they would be supported by many: the child’s grandparents and other relatives, parents who appreciate the warning, etc.

Now consider an alternate scenario. The parent of a three-year-old daughter who happens to have a disability diagnosis takes her precious child to the doctor.​ Click here to continue.