Thread: Attitudes Toward Disability Board: Heaven / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
For the last couple of years I have volunteered at a local special education school for kids with disabilities, many of whom are in wheelchairs, and have become aware of the comments they encounter.

Recently I was in a shopping centre, accompanying a boy in a wheelchair on a school outing, and met up with someone from church who said to me, over the boy's head; "I have a daughter who works with them".

A woman we know who has a profoundly disabled son was asked by a stranger, "Does it talk?", and was refused a haircut for him by a barber.

A friend of ours, a thirtyish woman who works in disability advocacy and has very obvious cerebral palsy, thought she had heard it all, but has just posted her latest experience in a bank.

When she had finished her transaction, the teller asked if there was anything else he could do for her, and when she said, "No, thank you very much", replied, "What lovely manners!"

I couldn't resist sharing that, but if there is any interest in going beyond sharing funny/appalling horror stories to actually discussing issues of disability, in society in general and the church in particular, possibly the topic could be moved to Purgatory.
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
I work for five people with disabilities who share a house. I find people are generally pretty good when it comes to interacting with my clients when we are out and about. A few months ago I took a bloke to see a footy match. He communicates with sounds, gestures and head movements. I went to get some food or something and came back to find him interacting with a bloke who was clearly a bit uncomfortable but doing a great job nonetheless. My client also managed to get the attention of a few other random blokes in the crush to leave the stadium who also attempted a few words with him. It was brilliant, because it's hard to get this particular client out of the house.

I've been doing this for about 10 years, and you do get the occasional bit of negativity but that is far outweighed by the people who are prepared to interact or help you and your client in one way or another.

My advice is to laugh these idiots off and keep having fun with the kid you're with on the day. On behalf of paid disability workers everywhere, thanks for volunteering. It really really helps.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
Yes, fair points, simontoad.

I come from your part of the world, and the last time I attended an AFL match at the MCG (I go extremely rarely, but my grand-son had obtained free tickets through Auskick) there was a man with (I would guess) Down Syndrome nearby, who was cheering his team continuously, raucously and inarticulately, without attracting any negative attention at all.

Given the reputation and behaviour of some fans at matches, I was relieved and impressed.
 
Posted by Aravis (# 13824) on :
 
I was working in a special needs unit attached to a school about 25 years ago. The worst time of the year for us was the run-up to Children in Need. The local paper used to turn up to take pictures of selected children (particularly the only black girl in the unit, who was pretty and in a wheelchair, and was included in every single promotional photo for the entire school until her parents queried this). And then you couldn't get them to do anything; suddenly they were poor disabled children and couldn't do maths homework or propel their own wheelchairs, and just wanted to sit round looking sweet and pathetic for a few days.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
40 years ago I worked for a provincial agency which provided services to people with disabilities. As I was moving on, integration into the mainstream became the policy. We don't have special schools any more. Children with disabilities are in regular classrooms with Educational Assistants (EAs) based on needs. All public buildings are required to be accessible. Buildings had to be renovated to provide access to mobility challenged people. Most of it is 30 years ago so old news. Among many other things like proper snow removal. It's either mainstream or discrimination.

In an area of my work, we continually discuss the legal 'duty to accommodate' which requires employers not to inquire of health status when hiring and to reasonably accommodate employee disabilities. It also prevents firing when someone becomes disabled and requires employers to hold their job. Too many illnesses and disabilities are translated by employers into discipline. The point I think is that it has to be set in law and force employers into discussion and negotiation of the how to accommodate.

Right now I am in the midst of a PTSD and mental health accommodation project and getting people back to work and hours they can reasonably do. Previous work was physical work restrictions. Our biggest barrier is getting funding authorization to assess properly. But there's many angles public and private. Started with PTSD because police, fire fighters and emergency medical people are compelling to people who need persuading.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
I attended a 'Progressive Church Network' conference in May - There were very few seats that I could manage. People had draped their coats over seats so as to reserve them – rather like they do with sun loungers by the swimming pools of posh hotels. A steward helpfully asked some people to move slightly so that I could sit don but he had to ask them twice, such was their reluctance. I could not get any coffee during the break because there were some steps which had no banisters and the only places where I could hold on to anchor myself were full of people talking and seeming not to notice that I was there. People were very cliquey and so there was an echo chamber feeling – nobody spoke to me. Where there was some interaction, during a very limited discussion time, people treated me patronisingly as some sort of half-wit.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
I have a lot of blind friends, they have constant access issues - especially with taxis, even 'tho it's against the law to refuse Guide Dogs and the driver risks losing their license.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Shame on them (the taxi drivers, that is).

My problem is that I don't look disabled, but I do find it difficult to stand for anything more than a few minutes without feeling that I might Topple Over. Accordingly, I find it necessary sometimes to ask younger (and hopefully - but not necessarily - more able) people to give up their seat for me on the Bus or Train.

So far (touch wood, and whistle), there's been no hassle, and folk have been quite OK with allowing A Poor Old Man to sit gratefully down.

It may be that I shall have to use a wheelchair in the not-too-distant-future, so I await with interest the reaction that will bring. At least, our local Buses are mostly wheelchair-friendly now!

IJ
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
Now my hair and beard have gone grey, BF, young people sometimes offer me their seats on trams and trains.

I am tempted to respond by performing some chin-ups on the hand-rail, but desist because I don't want to embarrass them in return for their consideration.
 
Posted by Palimpsest (# 16772) on :
 
I've been clunking along on crutches and am now short of breath as well. I understand that people want to make sure I'm ok, but some of them won't settle for a "fine thanks" but want to know where I'm going, and some put their hand on my back, which I hate. I understand people want to help, but there's not much they can do except stop asking me to talk to them.
 
Posted by Leorning Cniht (# 17564) on :
 
When I was trying to get up and down stairs on the London Underground with a heavy wheely suitcase and a broken collarbone, I was very appreciative of the people who offered help. Yes, I would love you to carry my bag down the stairs - it hurts quite a lot when I do it.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Shame on them (the taxi drivers, that is).

My problem is that I don't look disabled, but I do find it difficult to stand for anything more than a few minutes without feeling that I might Topple Over. Accordingly, I find it necessary sometimes to ask younger (and hopefully - but not necessarily - more able) people to give up their seat for me on the Bus or Train.

So far (touch wood, and whistle), there's been no hassle, and folk have been quite OK with allowing A Poor Old Man to sit gratefully down.

It may be that I shall have to use a wheelchair in the not-too-distant-future, so I await with interest the reaction that will bring. At least, our local Buses are mostly wheelchair-friendly now!

IJ

It's high time 'they' invented a really portable seat.
 
Posted by Galloping Granny (# 13814) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Shame on them (the taxi drivers, that is).

My problem is that I don't look disabled, but I do find it difficult to stand for anything more than a few minutes without feeling that I might Topple Over. Accordingly, I find it necessary sometimes to ask younger (and hopefully - but not necessarily - more able) people to give up their seat for me on the Bus or Train.

So far (touch wood, and whistle), there's been no hassle, and folk have been quite OK with allowing A Poor Old Man to sit gratefully down.

It may be that I shall have to use a wheelchair in the not-too-distant-future, so I await with interest the reaction that will bring. At least, our local Buses are mostly wheelchair-friendly now!

IJ

I hope that my leg pain will be relieved with surgery, but my balance is gone.
At the hospital for an appointment, and unable to find a disabled carpark free near the lifts in the vast basement carpark, I handed in my keys for the two staff to park my car, as instructed on the notices.
When I got back, both the parking staff had gone, leaving a notice 'On Patrol". This was hell: nowhere to sit down. I took the lift back up to the atrium where I could sit until they might have returned, but in the end I went to the receptionists, where one of them phoned to contact the park people, and took me down herself in the only nearby wheelchair (outsize) and we got the keys and found the car.
I posted a complaint/suggestion to the Hospital, and got an immediate reply from a helpful person, who had come up with the great idea of the park staff handing the keys to Reception in the atrium. Yes, I said, but one would have to be told where to find one's car. He suggested having printed maps (my car was not in a numbered space.) Wouldn't it be better to have fixed seats by the lifts? I suggested.
They're working on it.
I also have appointments at another public hospital, with long distances to walk. I ask for someone to come with a wheelchair, which is simply arranged.

(Edited to correct the spell checker's helpful conclusion that by atrium I meant Antrim)

GG

[ 27. September 2017, 07:48: Message edited by: Galloping Granny ]
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
I have a neurological problem that makes me hyper- sensitive to light, especially fluorescent and " blue" lighting ( like the kind in supermarket cases). It gives me involuntary tremors and can make it difficult for me to navigate in some buildings. Dark glasses help, but only to a point. Because I live in a part of the world where methamphetamine abuse is rampant, I sometimes perceive that people around me think I'm "tweaking," and I get judgmental side-eye. Sometimes I feel the need to explain why I'm trembling and unsteady ( instead of telling people to mind their own damn business), but afterward I second- guess myself because it may come off as whiny and attention seeking. Sometimes I feel like wearing a sign: "Not On Drugs."

[ 28. September 2017, 12:14: Message edited by: LutheranChik ]
 
Posted by Lyda*Rose (# 4544) on :
 
I don't think it sounds whiny, and it might get some people to stop making snap judgments.
 
Posted by Jengie jon (# 273) on :
 
Galloping Granny

Seats and a red phone would be better. A red phone is one you pick up and it dials a single number e.g. the car park people's mobile. Therefore they know there is someone waiting.

Jengie
 
Posted by cliffdweller (# 13338) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
When I was trying to get up and down stairs on the London Underground with a heavy wheely suitcase and a broken collarbone, I was very appreciative of the people who offered help. Yes, I would love you to carry my bag down the stairs - it hurts quite a lot when I do it.

We had just such a generous offer when deplaning at a large airport with our two small boys & assorted strollers & gear... the helpful soul then took off with our wheely bag.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Which hopefully contained nothing of any value to the thieving bastard.

[Disappointed]

IJ
 
Posted by M. (# 3291) on :
 
Tangent continuation. I once had my bag stolen from the overhead rack on a train. It contained my very sweaty gym stuff. I always felt the thieves got what they deserved.

M.
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
Does anyone have any experience flying with a wheelchair-bound person? From what I've read, you have to walk from something like the plane entrance to your seat, and some airlines have shoulder straps to secure you. The person I have in mind I have never seen attempt to walk, but maybe she has some residual capacity that we can build up. I just can't see an airline letting her stay in her chair... but maybe they have secure points like taxis. Not a biggie. I have a plan that I'm tossing around, is all.
 
Posted by Eigon (# 4917) on :
 
There's a blog called Of Battered Aspect, by David Hingsburger, who is Canadian and writes about issues to do with disability - he uses a wheelchair, and flies reasonably frequently, so it might be worth having a look to see what problems he encounters in airports.
 
Posted by Twilight (# 2832) on :
 
My days of being able to do a grand plie` are long past, so if I happen to be out somewhere and my shoe comes untied, I'm at a loss. Walking in the loose shoe is dangerous, but I end up doing it until I find a bench. I've been tempted to ask a child to tie my shoe.
 
Posted by Golden Key (# 1468) on :
 
Twilight--

Maybe shoes with velcro closures? Probably less likely to come undone--and if they did, you might be able to kick the velcro straps back into place with your other foot.

FWIW, YMMV.

[ 01. October 2017, 03:16: Message edited by: Golden Key ]
 
Posted by Lothlorien (# 4927) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jengie jon:
Galloping Granny

Seats and a red phone would be better. A red phone is one you pick up and it dials a single number e.g. the car park people's mobile. Therefore they know there is someone waiting.

Jengie

Jengie, I have not heard of such things down here. They may well exist, but certainly there haqs been very little publicity. GG is in NZ and I am in Australia.

It sounds a good idea, but no lknowledge of it here.

[ 01. October 2017, 04:24: Message edited by: Lothlorien ]
 
Posted by wild haggis (# 15555) on :
 
Yes, I can no longer do a grande plie either. I could aged 45. I did contemporary/ballet classes and was part of an amateur performance company, run by one of Britain's top dance companies. It was brilliant fun and great exercise.

But then....the bones started to go and a specialist nearly had a fit when I told him my hobby. I was told off - "a women of your age" .......blaa, blaa, blaa. He wasn't too pleased 6 months later, when he asked me what I was doing instead for exercise and I said that myself and 2 friends had started up Scottish Country Dance Club in our part of London. Even although I was teaching most sessions and not doing much dancing!! I was banned. Ah well......

Sadly, I need a new skeleton now. Has anyone got one in their cupboard - must be good condition and 5'3"!! I want to dance again.

Seriously though people just seem to ignore disability - even "caring" Christians. I was shocked at the experiences of the visitor to the Progressive Christian Network Conference, but not surprised. I found their groups very cliquey and caught up in themselves. It's so sad that people who call themselves Christians, no matter their theology, behave thus.

I too have gripes:
In some church services people stand for ages singing. I can't. But if I sit down, I can't see the screen with the lyrics. Rarely do they provide a book or written words for those of us who can't stand for long. People aren't transparent and if you can't stand, you can't see the screen so can't sing. It's thoughtlessness and not at all disabled friendly.They sing about loving and caring, but they don't when it comes to letting us worship as well.

Another gripe I have with screens; being dyslexic, the colour of the the lettering is crucial for legibility. Yellow on blues is impossible for me to read (and for most dyslexics). Red and brown lettering is a just a smudge. As to beautiful, fuzzy background pictures, no matter how pretty, with lettering on top = impossible to read. A shame churches and conferences don't provide typed out words or big print editions for those who can't stand for long or whose eyesight is bad. The screen and standing for ages seems to be de-rigeur today in many churches and conferences. So many boast that they care and are disabled friendly! They aren't!!!

Disabled isn't only a wheelchair or guide dog.

So please people, be aware that disability covers a wide range of physical. educational and mental disabilities. If Christians say they care.....well do something about it!
 
Posted by balaam (# 4543) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:

I too have gripes:
In some church services people stand for ages singing. I can't. But if I sit down, I can't see the screen with the lyrics.

I arrive early at our place and sit up front for this reason.

Others who can't stand take the large print lyrics, provided for those with poor eyesight, and read from that. (We have yet to move on to braille).
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by wild haggis:
But if I sit down, I can't see the screen with the lyrics.

Powerpoint is a tool of the devil.

If we had stuck with hymn-books, as God intended, we wouldn't have this sort of problem.

I have vivid memories of the catastrophes involving slide projectors at missionary meetings many years ago, but they were nothing compared to today's disasters accompanying missionary Powerpoint presentations.

Bring back the magic lantern, I say.
 
Posted by Baptist Trainfan (# 15128) on :
 
I agree that disasters happen. And that Powerpoint can be used badly. But - and it requires a lot of work - if used properly it can be very useful.

BTW we make sure we always have printed sheets available for those who can't read the screen. However:

At my last church, the Uniformed Organisations asked that we go “paperless” at Parade Services and put all the words on the screen. I complied although, knowing that some folk would find it difficult to read the screen, arranged to have some printed sheets of words available.

After the first such service B. came to me in high dudgeon: “I couldn’t read the words on the screen”.

“Oh”, said I. “didn’t you ask for a sheet?”

B: “I didn’t know there were any”.

I: “But an announcement about it was projected onto the screen for half-an-hour before the service”.

B: “I never noticed it”.

I: “And it was mentioned on the weekly notice sheet you were given”.

B: “I never read that till I get home”.

I: “And, before the service started, we asked anyone who wanted a sheet to put up their hand and we would bring them one”.

B: “I was too embarrassed to ask”.

...!
 
Posted by Meerkat (# 16117) on :
 
I am partially-sighted, having gone blind in one eye overnight (detached and ripped retina which the medics could not put back). The other eye runs at about 65%. I cannot drive any more, so use public transport or am driven by my wife on short local journeys.

I wear a small pin-badge (dayglo yellow) which has the 'shaded eye' symbol and the words 'PARTIALLY SIGHTED' when I am out and about on public transport or with people who don't know me. I also carry a 'symbol cane'... a short white cane, as against the long cane. This symbol cane is to signify that I have vision problems but am not totally blind.

With very few exceptions, people ae considerate towards me. People of all ages will move out of the way; offer a seat; ask if I need help with suitcases etc. When I arrive at ticket barriers, if they are staffed I am waved through. In the queue at the Post Office, one of the floor staff will offer help. When going to other Churches, I am usually offered large print paperwork. In Airports, I ask for assistance and, again, everyone is very helpful.

In summary, my experiences have been generally very positive.
 
Posted by Boogie (# 13538) on :
 
That’s good news Meercat.

You know that many, many Guide Dog owners are partially sighted?

When my pups are fully grown people often think I’m a Guide Dog owner- especially if I have my sun glasses on. Also, to train the pup, I have to keep to a straight line and let her negotiate obstacles, which makes me look more ‘blind’. People are really kind but often step aside and wave us on - which wouldn’t help at all if I couldn’t see them!
 
Posted by Huia (# 3473) on :
 
Nordic Walking Poles are not very common here. I use mine all the time when I am out and about, mainly because I enjoy the exercise and they help my balance walking on the post quake uneven ground. I travel a lot by bus and have been amazed at the High School students offering their seats on the bus and generally being more courteous towards me. I feel a bit of a fraud to be honest, but I do appreciate it.

My real disability is that I use hearing aids. My church has a great sound system and well as a printed Order of Service, there are always printed copies of the Reflection (sermon) available for those of us that need them. It's also printed on the web page if anyone wants to read it afterwards.

Since the 2011 earthquake destroyed 80% of Christchurch's CBD disability groups have been consulted about the layout of the city and the new buildings, making it more user-friendly than it was.

Huia
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Eigon:
There's a blog called Of Battered Aspect, by David Hingsburger, who is Canadian and writes about issues to do with disability - he uses a wheelchair, and flies reasonably frequently, so it might be worth having a look to see what problems he encounters in airports.

Cheers Eigon. I'll have a squizz. I follow an Aussie one called Have Wheelchair Will Travel too.
 
Posted by Sarasa (# 12271) on :
 
Another hearing aid user here. WIthout them I can hear very little and with them my hearing is OK, but not brilliant, one of the reasons I rarely go to the theatre anymore. Most people are fine, and I don't mind the jokes. It is very much a hidden disability. I had a mobility scooter owner shout at me as I couldn't hear her behind me on the pavement. She just grumped and went on her way when I explained.
My mother has very little sight left due to macular degeneration, but refuses a cane or any other aids in case people use it as an excuse to rob her. It makes me sad that she thinks that of people.
 


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