"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Question for People With Disabilities

Do others misconstrue your need or passion for accessibility as aggression? Does that oppress you?

Please leave your thoughts and comments on this. It is a worthy discussion.


  1. Absolutely!! But in my opinion here's part of the reason why. As you and I have talked about, in my case anyway, I was taught to be grateful for every single scrap of "help" I received. I think it was the time I grew up in. When I became an adult I began to realize I shouldn't have to be overly grateful for things everyone else takes as a given. But I also don't want to be known as "that loud mouthed disabled woman" I know some people who truly believe that in this word they are owed things because the struggle with disability. These people are mean nasty and hard to be around because of the way they see life. SO sometimes I find myself not standing up for my needs or my passions the way I might otherwise because I don't wish to be lumped in with the group who whines about what they need but has no idea on how to make things better. It's s a very fine line Some people wrongly assume that if a disabled person is asking for say access, all they really want is to cost them money or make things harder. Because some people approach it that way it makes it harder for those of us who only wish to be heard and to feel like what we have had to say is important.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts, Laura.

      I used to attend meetings with Fabulous Husband over in Mechanicsburg where I attended over a year before someone figured out I couldn't hear. They went out THAT WEEK and purchased head sets and installed a loop system and PUBLICIZED it. It was so thoughtful. I was too deaf to use it, my old analogue hearing aids aren't compatible , however, they had 4 new
      accommodations for others who did need it. WONDERFUL.

      It would have been nice if they had asked what else they could do, because then we could have discussed captions and ASL interpreters.

      The problem so often, is that people who don't live with a disability try to fit what they think is the answer for those of us living with the disability. People have a hard time understanding degrees of disabilities and life situations are not a one size fits all. Sometimes the answer isn't just one answer, but several, to meet the accessible needs of everyone.

      I've found people also misconstrue whining with educating. Many of us are merely trying to educate and bring awareness and fixing an issue simply by providing access. Provide the access and you fix the issue.

      We need more advocacy agencies run by people living with varying disabilities to educate the rest of us. We should also remember, if this is an issue for one person, we know then also, this is an issue for many people. Some just don't speak up, or as you have said, don't know how.

      For those who don't know how, and I confess I am one of those who doesn't yet know how, we need these agencies to teach us how.

      Having said all that, it's hard to explain the need to people who don't want to recognize there is an issue or talk about it. Too many turn "deaf" to such things and don't want to talk about the reality. They think it's negative to discuss real issues in order to come up with real solutions.

      That's where I get frustrated. This is where I need to be educated, too.

  2. First, I would be much happier if instead of saying "the disabled" you'd said "people with disabilities". Much more respectful.

    People don't want to admit they don't know something. That's when they insist they have the solutions to problems without asking the people whose problems they are. Places that provide ASL terps not understanding that most people with hearing loss don't use ASL. When I ask for captioning they assure me it's all good because there will be an interpreter. Good for whom? Why not have both?

    Some days I get so tired of advocating to people who don't see why they should care.

    1. Thank you for the suggestion, B. I took your advice and changed the title. All the more reason we need to educate and be educated.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experience.

  3. You wanna know what's funny I thought of about person first language in my reply and then I didn't go back and fix it either. I'm to the point now where I think that if I get too hung up in the labeling of something the bigger issues at hand get missed. But it's taken me 38 years to get there. B I'm with you on the getting tired of advocating thing sometimes I just want to do my thing instead!!!

    1. I think we all have days like that. However, if someone doesn't speak up, it just means the issue will not be resolved and we'll be at it another the day, not only us, but the generation behind us.

      Also, I am still running the stats through my mind that 1 in 3 people between the ages of 18 and 65 will become disabled. That's an astounding statistic. I read that over at Barrier Free Manitoba blog: http://www.barrierfreemb.com/endorsers

  4. Deaf are viewed the 'ANGRY PEOPLE' at most levels there tends to be a very aggressive approach to some forms of communication, mostly it is because they are NOT following things, and anger makes them look more 'independent' and 'in control' than they actually are. Some deaf clubs I attend there is always some friction around, we all need to get out more basically, the deaf world is a confinement and we aren't hacking the world outside adequately. I started off angry, that is an acceptable stand when you lose hearing it is 'Why me ?' but I learnt to channel that without aggression, a lot of deaf never attempt to channel it and can come across very hostile.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thought, MM.

      This is why I think joining groups such as Alda http://www.alda.org/ and HLAA http://www.hearingloss.org/ is so important. I don't know what support groups are available in the UK. I'm hoping to get a local ALDA chapter started here in PA by next fall. We don't have one in our state...yet. We do have HLA, and I've been attending those.

      I've also made friends with a couple of deafened ladies at a nearby retirement community that have been wonderful to get together with. I met them through HLA meetings. I have one friend I'll be seeing on a regular basis through the meeting. She recently had a cochlear implant, and I love learning all the ways it has improved her quality of life.

      I think getting together with others in person, or online helps immensely to channel the vast array of feelings that come with the challenges of dealing with whatever disability we are dealing with.

      Thank you for sharing your thought, MM.