Wednesday, June 8, 2011

five 2.0

Thanks to Joanna for this post!

Ok so a few days ago I promised that I’d give you my top five things I want to be different for people with disability in 5 years time. There are of course more than 5, but here’s my five.
  • I want the assumption that I (or anyone) needs a carer with them to stop. I may or may not have a carer, but it is amazing how may people especially from non-disability focused organisations (like airlines, it seems) assume that I must. If I don’t have a carer with me at the point where you see me, and you don’t know me, then lets assume for argument’s sake that I don’t have one or need one. In fact if I look like I know what I’m doing with a particular situation, lets treat me like I do. It’s quite hurtful as a grown woman who has lived with this level of difference my entire life, to have complete strangers look around me for someone, anyone that stands up so that they can breathe a sigh of relief, start talking over my head, and  tell me how lucky I am to have a friend like whoever the standing person is. I’m not taking anything away from those that have either formal or informal carer arrangements, but I don’t. I’m trying to get a best fit here in a world that i at best 90% there in some areas (but it’s often a crucial piece that is missing).
  • I want to really be a person, not a product/program or a problem. With the integration of some provision of accommodation of people with disability in the mainstream activities of life, I’ve noticed an increase in bad references. Variations on”There’s a wheelchair coming to 16″, said  to me is a twice or even three times daily reference. I know its shorthand and  know its said so you can ultimately help, but its rude to ignore the person in these references. My chair didn’t ask for help. I did. There may well be processes that need to be incorporated, but that’s not going to change if you add a personal descriptor into the mix. My wheelchair is not going to drive itself. While I’m here, would it hurt you to realise that I didn’t appear on your radar as a problem as much as a person trying to get on with it in a world that wasn’t built with weakness in mind? Smile.
  • Borrowing from Stella:
In five years time I want to be living in a world where disability doesn’t automatically mean disadvantage. I want to be living in a world where I don’t spend every spare cent of my salary, from a job I work hard at, on maintaining my participation in the world. I’d like to be able to entertain the possibility of being a home owner or going overseas, like my non-disabled peers.
These things are do-able but really a lot harder than they need to be.
  • I want it to really truly be illegal to build a building, or run a business that does not provide access to all of us, and I want that enforced legally and socially. I want it to get more than sympathetic/guilty glances when others can use a service like transport without thinking twice
  • I want to be a proud included member of any number of communities and cultures — not just based on lack.

There’s a start…. Thoughts?

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