Reflection: An Anthropologist on Mars

Oliver Sacks is well known for his written works focused on individuals with disabilities from a neurological perspective. Narratives of those with alternate abilities were once rarely heard of and were blocked out of history books, but as the way society views these individuals continues to change, it is important to include these stories as we move forward. A perspective from someone in a medical setting can help further our understanding of the topic of disability in the medical field, what areas have improved, and what areas still need improving.

Each chapter focuses on a different individual and while some have similar conditions, no two experiences are alike. This shows us how there is no such thing as “the disabled experience”, everyone experiences life differently. With 50 million people in the United States living with someone that is classified as a disability, it is important to listen to everyone’s individual perspectives. Each person will have strengths and weaknesses in different areas and some who are living with something classified as a disability will not see themselves as disabled at all. There is also the added variable of the differences in views on disability based on culture and background. Sacks ability to change how he thinks and recognize individuality in each patient is a skill that those both in and outside of the medical field could benefit from.

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