Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day and Blogging Against Disablism Day

Disablism? What's that? It's another -ism, another indication of discrimination, subtle or overt, in the same family as racism, sexism, and others. I'm not sure who coined the term or if it's even in use outside the blogosphere. Here's my definition.
Disablism. n (dis-ab-lizm) an active prejudice or discriminatory attitude toward persons with disabilities.
I'm hearing impaired, and I'm a teacher. And yes, I've encountered discrimination in my field. It's not important to rehash the difficulties I've faced; it's more important to remind people that disabled people are just that -- people -- and are not solely defined by their disabilities.
My teenage son, Amigo, is blind and has Asperger's Syndrome. We're quite a pair. When we go to a restaurant, I often read him the menu (if they don't have one in Braille), and then he helps me order because I might not hear the server's questions above the din of the dining room. We have typical parent-child moments, too. He likes the TV loud. I keep saying, "Turn it down! If I can hear it clearly, so can you!" He tells me when a timer goes off or the dryer buzzes, just in case I'm not close enough to hear it. He doesn't get the laundry out himself, darn it. I guess the teenager part trumps the helpful.
Sometimes he and I need small adaptations, "reasonable accomodations", to achieve our goals. I need a phone that's hearing aid compatible; Amigo needs screen-reader software for the computer. But hearing or sighted, if you were playing Trivial Pursuit, you'd want Amigo and me on your team. We're good. Very good.
But folks, we're people. We're good, capable, intelligent people. My disability is part of me. I am a good mother, a good teacher, an intelligent learner. Amigo's disabilities are part of him. He's a delightful and talented young man.
Disablism? Forget it. Don't waste your time looking down on us -- because it is a waste of your time, and ours.


Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2007

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6 Comments:

Blogger Karen said...

Love this!

5/01/2007 7:02 AM  
Blogger Club 166 said...

Well put. I love the way your strengths complement each other ordering at the restaurarnt, and how it so naturally flows.

5/01/2007 9:02 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Great BADD post!

5/01/2007 11:31 AM  
Blogger Imperfect Christian said...

I don't see my daughters as disabled. I see them as wonderful, unique little people who will grow to do wonderful and amazing things...on their own time. Thanks for this post, I love it!

5/01/2007 12:11 PM  
Blogger Never That Easy said...

Again, the idea is: we are people. Treat us that way. How right you are.

5/01/2007 12:19 PM  
Blogger scribbit said...

I'm always looking for a good game of Trivial Pursuit. I'll have to remember that :)

5/02/2007 12:02 AM  

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