If you thought activism for the disabled was just a matter of asking for money, think again. A lot of highly-capable disabled people are struggling to find basics that the able-bodied might consider so normal, that they don’t think of them at all.
Did you think that finding an accessible hotel easy while traveling? It’s not as simple as it sounds, and high-level forums are striving to address this, and other issues We take a closer look at 4 easily available things that disabled people struggle to obtain.
1. Access – to Anywhere
Accessibility for the disabled is a huge issue. While able-bodied people can easily climb a kerbstone, for example, it’s not necessarily something a disabled person can handle. Yes, disabled athletes make being a superman or superwoman look normal, but access to things as basic as sidewalks remains a problem for disabled people in many places around the world.
Even the internet is not always disabled-friendly. Search engines these days will downgrade search engine rankings if, for example, the site doesn’t have features that will make content accessible to the sight-impaired. But with so many sites failing to comply, the degree to which this helps is, at best, questionable.
2. Getting a Job
No matter how highly-skilled you are, getting a job as a handicapped person is hard to do. Employers will cite operational requirements as a reason for this. But on closer inspection, you may find their “operational requirements” to be things that a handicapped person can easily overcome.
Sure, you may not be a blind-paraplegic crocodile wrestler, but that’s not a job you see advertised every day. Most disabled people can handle most jobs out there – and some of them are highly qualified talent that every company should be keen to snap up, except…
Need figures? You’re about half as likely to be gainfully employed if you suffer from a disability – no matter what that disability is or what your qualifications are.
3. Interference-Free Acess to Things They Want to Try
Let’s get this straight and do it real fast. Just because people need your help to get through the day doesn’t mean they can’t make their own decisions.
Many disabled people rely on carers, but that doesn’t mean they are children, incapable of rational thought, or unable to make their own decisions. While well-intentioned overprotectiveness isn’t a symptom of evil intent, it can be hugely frustrating to otherwise-capable adults dealing with a disability.
So, Uncle Joe wants to find out how to get a medical marijuana card in Oklahoma. If you don’t feel equal to helping him, at least don’t try to hinder him!
4. Respect – Not Sympathy
If an able-bodied person achieves something remarkable, you hear about the achievement. If a disabled person does the same thing, all you hear about is the disability. Yes! It’s great that disabled people are getting out there and living normal, and even extraordinary lives. For heaven’s sake, respect their achievements, and while their disability may be worth a mention, if only to inspire others facing the same obstacles, focus on the achievement rather than the disability.
Disabled people deserve the same respect as anyone else. The achievement is the star of the show. The disability is background information. Give respect, not sympathy.
Disabled and Capable
Difficulty with day-to-day tasks owing to physical disability is hard enough to face, but the perceptions of those not living with disablement can be a lot more difficult to deal with. The old-fashioned language of disability, now considered inappropriate, is still in the minds of many. It reflects attitudes that we need to address.
The hearing impaired may be seen as being “deaf and dumb.” People with extraordinary abilities and autism may still be regarded as “idiot savants.” Ultimately, the implication is that the disabled are less valuable as members of society, and if we were to highlight one thing that the disabled and capable would like addressed, that’s the one that matters most.
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