Amber Smith has a handicap, but would rather explain her abilities.
I am an upper-extremity amputee. That means I was born without my forearm and hand. My left arm stops just below my elbow, so I usually wear my sleeves no longer than three-quarters length.
When filling out applications for jobs, college and even scholarships, there is often a category that asks me about my physical state. It always bothers me. I don’t like the idea of a simple box being used to define me as disabled or handicapped. I think people need to realize that there are so many levels of ability that fall under the category of handicapped. I understand that applications should give a little bit of background about me, but I do not think that it is fair that I am confined to using a term that could paint an inaccurate picture of me and doesn’t explain the extent of my capabilities. I’ve played softball, been a cheerleader, served successfully as my student body’s vice president, created wonderful paintings and yes, I can even tie my shoes. I don’t need two hands to do all those things. My friends and family don’t even notice my missing arm and they often forget that anything sets me apart. It’s just too bad that on paper, there is no way to convey that to strangers.