Being differently abled means that we must constantly negotiate the assumptions of others. I was out shopping yesterday when a woman assumed that because of my scooter, that I was unable to cross the street by myself. I don’t think that I have had such a clear explanation of what a red light meant since I was six and my Dad was attempting to teach me cross the street. I have often wished that I had a way to record these incidents because when I re-tell them to family or friends later, I often get an incredulous look.
Thanks to the F Word, I came across a blog the chronicles the life of a woman with cerebral palsy. It’s called The Deal with Disability. She writes about people that are abelist that she interacts with. Some instances are even chronicled on video thanks to a very discreet camera that she has mounted on her wheelchair.
She handles these incidents with such humour, grace, and tolerance. I have a tendency to snap and lose my patience with the idiocy of others and perhaps this has to do with the newness of my disability. I spent quite a bit of time on her blog and I must say that I learned a lot. She even takes the time to chronicle the times when people get it right.
I spent quite a bit of time reading this blog and I must say that I highly recommend it. Not only did it teach me how to react when people are ableist with me, it helped me consider some of the ways in which my assumptions have lead me to be ableist to others. We are disabled because the world was not designed for our needs and a reasonable accommodation opens up the world. Perhaps if we take the time to teach others, they will be less tempted to be ableist with the next differently abled person that they meet.