Avoid assumptions writes person with disability
It is 2015 and I had assumed that I lived in a pretty much progressive and open-minded society, one that I could be fairly proud of — that is until Friday, June 12.
I was at my dentist’s office accompanied by my husband and home care worker. I approached the desk to fill out the customary form when one has no chart. As I put my hand up to reach for the form, the receptionist looked past me, at my husband then to my home care worker and said, “One of you can fill this out for her.” I was not happy. I was not dismayed. I was downright stunned and shocked! I use a walker, I do slur my speech, but that is because I have familial spastic ataxia, which affects my ability to walk, talk and my coordination.
I am not dumb! I am 56 years old with a darned good college education and I worked for 25 years in ad- dition to the six years in college.
What got me was the receptionist’s failure to even consider that, or even ask me if, I was able to fill out a form. All too often, many in society tend to judge people based on appearance only and that is not right. It is wrong on so many levels to do this for so many reasons.
Firstly, by assuming something before one knows the facts, it takes away from a person’s sense of selfworth. As a disabled person it tells me I am considered less than capable of doing things for myself, even the most mundane things.
Secondly, it tells me that some people in society still do not get the concept that those with disabilities are capable beings, that although we may not be able to do many things the way they usually are done, we can still do them.
Thirdly, it tells me that we are not accepted by many in society whether they be neighbors who want no interactions with us, to people who speak at us, around us, or through us in a condescending manner, to employers who wiggle their way out of hiring us because they fear hiring us will cost more somehow, or that they think we can’t work without constant supervision.
Fourthly, it is downright discriminatory to treat anyone with a disability any differently than a non-disabled person.
Come on folks, it is midway through 2015; it is time to shed those 18th century notions and get educated. All we want is to be included in as many aspects of society as we can.
Inclusion is acceptance. It’s my society too!