What is the challenge to having a disability?
Lorre Leon Mendelson
April 13, 2015
What is the challenge to having a disability? Nothing. People I’ve met with disabilities don’t view disability as problematic or something to overcome unless told so by others. We are not brave or courageous by definition of disability. The problem is not social reaction to us, the challenge is reaction to disability. Rather than recognized for our academic, athletic or professional accomplishments; we are celebrated or disparaged for perceived differences.
One person who is blind is often asked, how long have you been blind, can’t you see anything? can you sign your name? joking about his blindness to him. In a gathering few come over to say hello to him. Why? We believe eyes are the “window to the soul.” What happens when people:
- Cannot make eye contact to connect with others? Isolation.
- Cannot access businesses because of steps and are told it it is “grandfathered in” so don’t have to make a change.
- Disclose a psychiatric diagnosis and treated as pariah’s for fear they will be dangerous.
- People with intellectually disabilities’ marriage is in the health section instead of wedding announcements.
This is a sampling of the indignities people with disabilities face daily. What can you do to change the forecast? STOP thinking of us as different, less than or more than and your behavior will follow. Check with disability and deaf communities to see what accommodations you will need to provide not if you need to.
Make the dream of the Americans With Disabilities Act a reality.
On April 15th
, the ADA Legacy TourBus will be at the Kennedy Center at Vanderbilt at 110 Magnolia Circle for a 25th
Anniversary Celebration of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA Legacy Tour
will be there from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
The Tennessee Disability Coalition and the Middle Tennessee Center for Independent Living and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center hope to see you on April 15, 2015
! (April 15
) from 1-3 pm
at the East Park Community Center on Woodland Street
Lorre Leon Mendelson
Disability Warrior, Educator, Author, Advocate, Artist