Imagine you are walking through the street, you are passing many different people. As far as you can see, everyone looks normal. Then you see someone with prosthetics, wheelchair or some common object that marks disability. You might become fixated with that device and the person using it. You start to either stare or consciously try to avert your eyes away. It does not matter that the person just going to work or picking up milk. It matters that they use something that signifies that they are different. These objects helped facilitate people with disabilities’ inclusion but also hampered their inclusion as well.
One of the biggest issues of what society teaches about disability is that being disabled can be a hindrance. Our society might teach about how the deaf child won’t be able to socialize or the adult with muscular dystrophy won’t be independent. To some extent, it might be true. We learned to think this way because disability is relational. It is created through how people relate to their environment. These relationships are shaped by the senses and sometimes connected to language.  With the ability to hear or walk impaired, innovative devices such as the Cochlear Implant or motorized wheelchairs bridged a connection to the senses. As technology improved over the last fifty year, disability bonded with technology.
So technological tools that help disabled people live life does exist. The objects disabled use to perform daily activities also illustrates how technology makes disability situational.  Devices like iPads can be used communication purposes (either to speak or to get real time captioning) while prosthetics can aid walking or moving objects. Inventing these objects helped facilitate people who are disabled interact with their environment. The creation of these objects created a problem. Disabled people who uses these objects becomes known as the deaf guy or the one who can’t walk with aid of crutches or wheelchairs.
This merging of these identities is objectification. Search for the famous quote “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” How many of the images are of someone disabled in some manner? Quite a bit when the author googled the quote. The
image on the left shows a young girl running with her prosthetic. It’s inspiring and cute. She is overcoming her disability and looks happy. The attachment of the quote to this image presents a certain image. It’s saying that the girl overcame her disability (which she did) because of her attitude. Attitude remains to be a powerful tool. However, it does not help with everything. Attitude does not pay for equipment such as Cochlear Implants which requires surgery and maintenance. Attitude does not enable every buildings to be wheelchair accessible. Attitude has a limit. Also, the image presents that the girl is worse off than whoever is viewing the image. She is being limited by her disability and her prosthetic.
Disabled comedians like Shannon DeVido speak out about this objectification. Shannon has a Youtube series called Staring at Shannon. Basically, she tapes herself living life and try to see how uncomfortable people can become or what she can get away with. Below, she tries to see how much she can get away with in a grocery store.
Her video of her experience pushing the limit at Giants highlights several things. One, she can get away with a lot in a super market including eating ice cream in the freezer aisle. Secondly, people will assume the worse. The worker assumed she would not be able to lift the bottle by herself or the one customer who apologized for being in her way. She did not have to apologize for anything.
In the words of the late Stella Young, I want to live to in a world where a kid in year 11 in a Melbourne High School is not one bit surprised that his new teacher is a wheelchair user.  Material culture and disability mingles and remains fascinating. These devices help people with disabilities function independently. The problem is that people seem to think that diagnoses and objects define the person. Disability does not make a person limited. It makes them strong for their courage, creativity, and strength to get through every day.
Please note this blog post encompasses on physical disabilities. Invisible disability does exist and the author made the choice to focus on physical disability. Everyone presents their disability differently as well and some might never be truly be independent. As Katherine Otts said, Disability is no more dichotomous than race, gender, and sexuality are. 
 Katherine Otts, “Disability Things: Material Culture and American Disability History, 1700-2010,” ed Susan Burch and Michael Rembis (Champaign: University of Illinois Press,2014), 119.
 Otts 126.
 Stella Young, “I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much,” Filmed April 2014 at TedxSydney, https://www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much?language=en
 Otts 121.