Saturday, July 24, 2010
What Are You Doing to Help People with Disabilities?
A disabled athlete waterskiing. From:
Recently a blogger friend of mine, Jason Mayo of Outnumbered, asked me to participate in this awareness blogging event to heighten the sensibilities of our audience to people who are disabled in any way. You know, the people who need to use the handicapped rest room and the ones who need the ramp to go into a building. You may take these conveniences for handicapped people for granted, but until the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and subsequently amended as late as last year by Congress, people with disabilities did not have these accommodations as a rule. Many were unable to do even the simplest tasks without help. With the invention of individualized motorized vehicles handicapped people began to live more independent lives. Today it is a common sight to see a disabled person on a scooter living a normal independent life. Changes in lifestyle have enable changes in equipment for athletics resulting in a whole array of sports equipment geared to people with disabilities. There is no sport that cannot be played by a disabled person if he or she has the right equipment. The picture on the top of this page shows a talented water skiier who happens to be disabled. Nothing is closed to disabled people now.
Meanwhile just this week I had Franny Armstrong on my show River Writers Live Tales from the Pages and she related to me how she had been disabled pretty much for about 8-10 years due to several reasons. She was forced to go out with a mask on her face or stay inside of her house. Her disability was caused by environmental factors. All of a sudden she became highly allergic to almost all fragrances, household chemicals, etc. If you listen to the show you can hear her describe her experience. Because of her disability she gained a great deal of weight, so Franny has started a website, Strive 4 Good Health to start herself back on the road to good health.
I have a special empathy for disable people since I was disabled myself for about half a year. We lived in Long Island and in the winter it can get very icy, especially in the driveways. So my whole family was waiting for me since we were going to my daughters' dance recital and it was a bit of a drive. I walked over to the car and didn't see the black ice right by the passenger door. I slipped and fell banging my leg against the ice. I was dressed for a performance in good pants, but we were late, so I just got into the car not even thinking about myself or how I felt. I was in too much shock to even feel pain, but when we got to the auditorium where it was held and I had sat in one of those school auditorium seats for awhile I started to feel extreme pain. By the time we headed home all I wanted was an ice pack and pain killers. By the next morning I was one solid wall of pain. After going to the doctor, who checked to see if there were any fractures,
I was told I had contusions of the muscle. I thought, oh, that won't be too bad. It isn't broken.
Was I wrong!! The pain centered on my right calf and stayed there. The doctor told me I'd need to rest it and ice it, then I would need rehab. I couldn't walk on it so I needed a cane and since I was so slow I needed to get a handicapped sticker for my car.
Life is different for someone who needs a cane to walk. You walk slower. You think about climbing anything. So even getting up on a curb is a struggle. The store that used to be so close to the parking lot suddenly seems like a marathon course. You are always the last person to reach a destination. People have to wait for you, since you can't run to catch up with them. Driving a car with your right leg damaged is difficult, but you can do it. It's painful, though.
After going to rehab for months the leg started to heal, but I still needed a cane to walk. So I appreciate the problems people who are handicapped face. With my leg I was able to have a full recovery. I was lucky, but many handicapped people are not so lucky. Their disabilities are permanent and they have to live with them every day. That is why I will always help a disabled person anywhere.
In recent years the American Association of People with Disabilities has worked to make sure that disabled people could be integrated into society and it is still working to pass legislation to help disabled people. Due to their efforts disabled people have been able to work and enjoy recreational activities with the rest of society.
So I hope that next time you are with a disabled person you will remember how much they would appreciate it if you treated them like any other person. The only difference between disabled people and the rest of society is they need accommodations to be able to function independently.
I noticed a couple more followers for the blog and I welcome you. Thank you. Also to readers who aren't so new thank you for enjoying my meanderings.:)
Immediately following this post I am giving you a fantastic guest author interview with Jo Linsdell-Feliciani. She lives in Italy and we had a little difficulty connecting for this interview. But I assure you that you will be very happy you read it.:) So as soon as you finish this post go right to the next one to learn about Jo Linsdell-Feliciani.:)
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