Thursday, 1 May 2014

Blogging Against Disablism Day 2014

Yes, it's here again, Blogging Against Disablism Day. I have had a lot of unpleasant moments in my life as people would, and still do, point, stare and whisper about my disabilities and make unwelcome judgements. As I work on  this, I'm listening to the radio and there's What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger by Kelly Clarkson on. I really identify with this song   I have many talents , and have spent the last month working on my second novel , whilst working on how to get the first one published. I also did the Dewey's Readathon which was a welcome break last weekend 26-27 April) . Going back to the song, I feel empowered and stronger every time I hear it , and really believe in the great motto the title is. 
disability discrimination is also known as ableism. This Wikipedia article explains more about it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ableism

So, how does ableism affect me and impact on my life? Well, it's impacted all areas of my life over the years, education; making friends;  leisure activities; travelling . 

Education
I had the headteacher at my Infant school not want to accept me into the school due to my disabilities, and children and teachers alike thought I wasn't able to understand or learn. I quickly showed them they were wrong , and passed my exams and gained a degree . 

Making Friends 
I was really shy, and really self-concious . I decided to do something about that and tried approaching people instead of them shutting me out. I made conversation with them, and although I wasn't the most popular person, I realised that worked. I have friends I value and who value me. 

Leisure Activities & Travelling 
Seeing the world is something I have  always loved , and that is a big reason I studied geography. From my experience, leisure activities aren't accessible enough . Not enough swimming pools have hoists, not enough shopping centers or cinemas are accessible. Airports are not accessible enough either. It's almost like , by not being accessible, society assumes that people with disabilities won't be able to won't want to participate in leisure activities. 
 
Examples of Ableism I Have Come Across in My Life
 Often , people don't understand how complex my disabilities are, and people will often make the comment ' it seems like your disabilities aren't that bad' .  As I've said before on this blog, little do they know that without my hydrocephalus shunt I wouldn't be here , or that my wheelchair is my lifeline or that my partner Alfredo was once referred to as my 'arms and legs' when I was looking for a new wheelchair. They don't realise how strong my glasses are and how important they are . 
I don't portray myself as a victim , but do fight for awareness. In the past I didn't explain much, just ignored snide comments. My disability awareness work is so valuable to me , and I feel that way I may not make a huge difference to the amount of disability discrimination there is, but I do what I can to help reduce that . People have said 'you can do things just as well as anyone else ' the answer to that is, no , I can't . 
Doctors and health 'professionals' have been another area where I've found ableism, as they latched onto how 'intelligent' I am , and still do, as if they're surprised someone with CP would be intelligence  doesn't make disabilities and health conditions go away. Another way in which health professionals discriminate against those of us with disabilities, and one which I've experienced, is health services not being completely accessible to EVERYONE . 

With every Blogging Against disablism Day, I wish that somehow , someday, there will be less Disablism in the world .  

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