It’s to society’s credit that we increasingly make provision for people with special needs (psychological issues) in a wide range of circumstances, and that we increasingly understand that these special needs can be psychological, emotional, or neurological rather than, or as well as, simply physical.
For example, students with a dyslexia diagnosis have the right to extra time to complete an exam, while people with conditions such as autism and ADHD are often allowed to bring companion animals, that help to alleviate their stress, with them. Places of education and workplaces are becoming better at accommodating the particular needs of people with complex issues.
An unfortunate side effect of this is that a small number of people perceive that these reasonable accommodations give those with special needs of this sort an unfair advantage. They may feel, for example, that it is unfair that they are allowed to bring their pet dog on an aeroplane when everyone else has to pay a lot of money for their pooch to be transported in the hold. They may be resentful about the extra time they are given in exams or perceive that they are being given preferential treatment in a range of circumstances. They might feel that people with these conditions are more likely to have access to a range of social welfare benefits. As a result, they can be tempted to themselves pretend to have a condition of this sort in order to access the preferential treatment they believe others enjoy.
It may be tempting to go down this road, but it’s not a good idea, for a host of reasons. First of all, while society is certainly getting better about accommodating people with special emotional, psychological, or educational needs, the truth is that life is still much more difficult for people with these issues. Despite the accommodations they receive, there is still considerable prejudice against them in many workplaces, and among the wider population. Does anyone feigning a disorder in order to access a perceived privilege also want a big helping of prejudice at the same time? I don’t think so.
Moreover, every time someone pretends to have an issue with the idea that their life might be easier, life gets a lot harder for people who genuinely suffer. If even one fraudulent case of pretending to have a condition is found out, it casts thousands of genuine, very important, cases into doubt—possibly with serious repercussions for the people in question. Who really needs to have that on their conscience?
Anyone with a psychological or emotional issue who needs particular accommodations should feel confident about requesting the support they need in order to reach their full potential in society—and society will be better for us all when their vulnerabilities are addressed.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.