May Day and Blogging Against Disablism Day
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.