During High School, I had a desire to want to work with the students at school who needed assistance. I signed up for the Special Olympics club and was able to interact with them on a daily basis. I would continuously stop by their classroom in between my classes and just talk to several of them, developing relationships that they will remember forever. This is something that they made known to me that they really appreciated. Their disabilities separate them from the rest of the school, isolating them from regular school activities social interactions. After talking to some of the students, time and time again, they would tell me that they just want to be treated like everyone else.
Sometimes the word “normal” was used, which is such an arbitrary term. “Normal” is today’s society is based on perspective and what our modern-day world has created it to be. It is so common for others to have this fear of possibly offending someone with a disability. All that these students want is for people to not be afraid to talk to them. They want for people to treat them as if they didn’t have any kind of impairment. Nobody likes to be defined by something that is associated with being “abnormal” or “strange.
” Learning these things first-hand through these students has really helped me to think from a different perspective. My interactions with people who are disabled will always reflect my mindset of how I would want to be treated if I was them. January 15, 2015 As I walk around campus, I notice many different accommodations for people with disabilities.
These include: wheelchair ramps, automatic doors, wider doorways, bigger bathroom stalls, etc. However today, I also noticed that there were many accommodations that still need to be added in order to make it easier for people with disabilities. First of all, most of the accommodations are for people with a disability that requires them to use a wheelchair.
There are people who are blind or deaf that also need better accessibility. Maybe there is a possibility that I was not looking good enough, but I hardly notice any Braille anywhere and there is not any audible signal devices at any of the crosswalks. This makes it very difficult for someone who is blind to cross an intersection or get around knowing where and what things are. Also, while we do have accommodations for wheelchairs in some places, there are many places on campus that still do not make it easy for people in wheelchairs to get around, like Cooper Hall.
These older buildings on campus need to be updated and fixed so that these limitations do not start to cause people with disabilities to stop coming to class. Just from observing things around campus, I have really started to realize how much our society and environment shape the way that disabilities are stigmatized. If society did a better job at accommodating people with disabilities, then maybe having a disability would not be considered “abnormal” anymore. January 18, 2015 Today I was babysitting my little cousin who has Autism, which is a developmental disability.
This can be very hard to deal with sometimes, especially if the person has no patience. I know that I had to practice an extreme amount of patience. By age 4, most kids have a very large vocabulary, but my cousin’s is still very limited. We were playing with his toy train set and he was trying to tell me “This is Thomas the train,” but I could not fully understand. He had to point to the train and I realized at that then what he was trying to communicate. Often times, when we think of disability, the first thing that comes to mind is a physical disability.
If one looked at my cousin, they would not know that he has a disability, because from the outside he looks completely “normal. ” Children with developmental disabilities need extra help in school in order to stay on track. After talking to my aunt, it came to my attention that my cousin was accepted into a special school, before preschool, that was going to work with him one-on-one.
This program was a limited access program that did assessments to see if a certain person qualified. I know that ever since he was enrolled, he has improved drastically and is learning at a rate that most kids his age are.
Learning programs like this are much needed and I am so glad that someone I know has been able to benefit from a step our society chose to take to help people with disabilities like his. January 23, 2015 After a conversation in class one day, my interest was spiked by a question that caused a little bit of a debate. “Is obesity a disorder or should it be? ” There were many conflicting opinions about this topic, so I took it upon myself to see what some of my family members thought and also asked my boyfriend what he thought about it as well.
Coming from a very medical-based family, the consensus was pretty much the same across the board. My mother, a registered nurse, said that obesity in the case of something genetic that is out of their control, should be considered a disability. She said that someone who has full control over the way that they are should not be considered disabled. My boyfriend, a student in USF’s Exercise Science program also stated the same. Although, he did say something that especially interested me.
He said that someone who does not have any medical condition that would inhibit them from living a healthy lifestyle, is technically “not able” to do things, unless they are morbidly obese and cannot walk. Therefore, if they took the necessary steps in order to be healthy and did not worry about finding the closest handicapped parking spot to place, their “condition” can be reversible and their ability is not really taken away from them.
Many times, we look at disability as something that is out of our control and this is kind of where the medical model and social model clash. January 26, 2015 Today at work, I was talking to my office manager about disability and how people with disabilities are affected by society.
She replied with, I can see exactly how society plays a role, because my aunt has experienced this first-hand. She went on to describe that her aunt was born with Down syndrome and was born in some northern state in the United States. Her aunt was very involved in programs up north that helped her interact with others who had the same disability as her as well as have assistance for things that she needed regarding her disability. She had to move down here to Florida to be with family so that she could have more help, but the programs that she was already involved in up north did not transfer over.
She has now been put on a waiting list in Florida for now seven years in order to receive access to these specialized programs. The reason she has not moved up on the list is because her case has not been critical and her disability has not progressed. This is awful because society has limited her ability to interact with others and be a part of something to create a self-worth. She literally feels defeated and without at least her family support here, she would not be able to function in society. January 28, 2015 My sister has a friend who is a boy and has a cognitive disability.
I asked her to tell me a little bit about the situation and what it is like for him at school. She said that because of his disability, the school has assigned him a specific person that is in constant communication with him throughout the day. This person’s job is to make sure that everything he does is on track and that his assignments are correct and being turned in on time. He can reach out to this person if he is struggling and they can direct him to the right person that would be able to help him in whatever subject he is having difficulty in.
He also has difficulty concentrating, so his teachers are also accommodating by printing out special class notes for him to use to study. My sister says that she constantly hears kids at school whisper behind his back making fun of him behind his back and sometimes even to his face. She is friends with him, so she has talked to him about how he feels about this. He hates the fact that he is made fun of because of his disability because there is nothing he can do to fix it. He feels like he is limited in his selection of friends because he is constantly judged or looked at as “dumb. ”
This is not fair to him and society has created this barrier that does not allow him to be a normal high school teenager. February 1, 2015 As noted before, I once was involved in Special Olympics at my high school. While being a part of this program, I was able to interact daily with kids who had disabilities. One thing that they constantly looked forward to was being able to participate in the Special Olympics. They loved competition and they all had their own thing. Some people rode tricycles to the finish line, some people threw balls, others were able to run. These kids developed such strong friendships with one another because they with each other every day.
So, even if someone was not allowed to participate in the Special Olympics, they would always look forward to going to cheer their friends on! I was assigned to one little boy who was in the tricycle race. I had to prep him, pump him up and make sure he had everything he needed in order to compete. I was his official coordinator that spoke for him to tell the officials that he was there and ready to compete. This was such a great opportunity and the amount of gratitude that these kids had for us and to be a part of that moment with them when they won ribbons, was priceless! February 4, 2015.
I was playing tennis today with my boyfriend and I had not played in forever. Needless to say, I still know how to hit the ball, but not necessarily correctly. There were many times throughout our session that the ball flew across many of the tennis courts or over the fence. However, the more that I continued to play, the more I was able to gain more control and develop better motor skills. It got me thinking later that there are many people who do not even have the ability to develop better motor skills. Some people have a disease that does not allow for them to have use of their limbs in order to perform tasks throughout life.
Often times, as an “able-bodied” person, I overlook my privilege and ability to do such things. The fact of the matter is, I could wake up one morning and I could have a disability that does not allow for me to play tennis anymore. I need to appreciate what I have and recognize the privilege I have in society. Society does such a poor job at accommodating people with diseases, especially ones that affect their motor skill functioning. This has caused people with diseases to also have a disability. This disadvantage is formed in the way the society functions for inclusion of all types of people.
After many lectures in this class so far, I never thought that something as simple as playing tennis would provoke so much thought in my mind. I am truly glad that I now have an open mind to what is happening in society around me and that I am able to look at disability from a completely different perspective than what I am used to. February 10, 2015 I have grown up with lots of people in the medical field around me. My mom, who is a registered nurse has planted all of this medical knowledge in my head since I was little. Therefore, I have always kind of understood disability in medical terms.
Going through the medical model versus the social model in class, I realized that like most, I have been accustomed to looking at disability from a medical model. It is people’s natural ability to “return to normalcy” and to want to help others be as close to “normal” as possible.
This is basically a doctor or a nurse’s job. Bad health is not normal, so medications and therapy are prescribed and a patient, over time, proceeds to get better. This has been practiced for many years. However, knowing now that the social model is the way that disability should be looked at, I have realized the major importance that even medicine can learn and impact from.
Professionals in the medical field might think that a social model does not help or benefit the medical field in any sense, but I would argue that it most definitely can. Receiving the same benefits as anyone else, a person with a disability will be able to get their regular preventative care check-ups, creating more clientele and money coming into the field. Also, this opens the door for research and studies on the medicalization of certain disabilities and the differences between how they should be treated. February 12, 2015.
While society is a problem in creating “disabilities,” there are two sides to this issue. Yes, there are people who do not want to be or cannot control that they have a disease or something that makes them disabled. However, there are some people that purposely do something in order to get the “benefits” of being disabled. There are indeed benefits in some people’s eyes. If someone is morbidly obese and they are considered disabled, they can apply for and receive handicapped parking tags, wheelchairs, scooters, premium access to lines at theme parks, etc.
There are many times that these perks and accommodations in society actually create an incentive for people to stay the way they are or enjoy their life of disability. There will always be people who try to cheat the system and get their way, but our focus needs to be on the people who really do need help and the lack of accommodation we have in society for these individuals. It simply is not fair that all buildings are not built to accommodate wheelchairs or people who are blind. These are major issues that prevent productivity in society for people who are disabled, only enhancing the definition of the social model for disability.
February 16, 2015 I was watching a show the other day about a triathlete who did not have legs. These stories always amaze me because they have truly overcome a major obstacle and succeeded to the best of their ability. This person was able to get prosthetics that were attached to his nubs. After a long time of therapy and getting used to how they work, he trained and trained to complete a triathlon using these prosthetics. Since he had previously done one before without them, he made it his goal to complete one with them, proving that nothing could stop him from living the life that he was meant to live.
It was a very inspirational story and in the end, he completed the triathlon and was able to say he overcame that. There is another aspect that needs to be looked at for this particular case though. Money is very important when it comes to the quality of life of people who are disabled. This triathlete obviously had enough money to pay someone to construct such prosthetics that would be accommodating to his needs of completing a triathlon. The average person does not typically have the money to pay for something like this, leaving them completely legless and limited to completing their goals.
Socioeconomic status also very much so plays a big role in this. February 20, 2015 I was at the beach the other day on a really nice day and I realized a few things while I was there. The beach literally has no access for people with wheelchairs or disabilities. They have ramps leading up to sand, but nothing to accommodate people on the sand. As I walked across the sand, I was thinking to myself, “wow, walking across this sand is hard enough for me, I wonder what it would be like for someone who could not walk well or could not walk at all. ” Then, I looked around me.
Nobody with physical impairments on their lower extremities were in sight. It struck me that going to the beach is not something that people who have that impairment typically do. This is obviously due to the lack of accommodation on the beach itself. There should be special people on the beach that work to assist people to the water if they want to go in or have some kind of access to the sand that would not limit someone to only sitting on the edge by the concrete. The beach is such a beautiful place and I cannot imagine someone not being able to experience that just because they have a physical impairment.
It simply just does not seem fair and makes me want to stand up and do something about it. People like me overlook our privileges to be able to continuously experience things like that when there are other people out there that will never have that experience. February 23, 2015 A patient walked into the clinic I worked at today and we got to talking. She told me that she has six year old twins. She said that her twins look completely different, are different sizes and have different personalities. The shorter twin has a mild case of cerebral palsy.
Therefore, his fine motor skills are very weak and he has needed an intense amount of therapy throughout his life. This little boy is apparently in kindergarten and reads on a 2nd grade level; however, teachers still wanted to hold him back because of his writing. This was incredibly hard for his mom to take because of course she’s his mother and knows his brilliance, so it does not make sense to her. She explained to me that because of his lack of fine motor skills, he has to take all of his tests on computers versus writing them on paper.
If teachers understood and had better knowledge of thefact that this little boy literally will take forever for him to develop those skills in order to create legible handwriting, then maybe he could just go on to the next grade. Not being able to write should be no standard on whether or not the boy has the smarts to continue to the next grade.
Accommodations in the school should be made and administration should just realize he needs a little assistance when it comes to examinations and assignments. But, as far as the information, he knows it and can correctly answer on the level that he should cognitively at his grade, and even higher.
February 24, 2015 My boyfriend is a pharmacy technician and was telling me about a time when someone was deaf and came to pick up their medication. One can only imagine the communication barriers that would cause difficulty for this person to get their medication. There are many strict regulations in a pharmacy and part of their job is to verify people’s identity. This is done by asking the patient to verify their address and date of birth. My boyfriend was incapable of communicating this to the patient because he does not know sign language, so he got some scrap paper and had to write back and forth with the patient.
He said it was a very frustrating situation not only for him but for the person as well. Societal factors obviously play a role in this situation. We can see that these factors truly determine how one is able to function. If someone is deaf and lives in a Deaf community, communication is not an issue and therefore being deaf is not a disability. This situation paints a perfect picture of how society plays a major role in the way that disability is formed. February 28, 2015 I am also a server at Chilis, and there are many times where we get people who come out to eat in a wheelchair.
There are only select tables that can accommodate a wheelchair. I just so happened to have one of these tables tonight and had the privilege of being able to talk to this couple. They explained to me that it is pretty normal for them to wait twice as long for a table because her husband was in a wheelchair. The lack of wheelchair accessibility tables is an issue. I really felt bad for them because my table was taken up by people who were completely “able- bodied” for such a long time and this couple had to wait until they were done in order to sit down and actually enjoy a nice meal out.
The same goes for the parking lot outside of Chilis. As far as I’m aware, there are only a couple handicapped parking spots out front and these were taken up by people when this couple arrived, so they had to park far away and wheel him up to the restaurant. Restaurants should really be more accommodating to people with disabilities and keep in mind that, especially with the baby boomers getting old, the rise in people with illness and disability is only going to heighten.
Even though through the Disability Rights Act, these things are supposed to be fixed, most companies have not completely abided by these regulations or have done the bare minimum, which ends up limiting people to be able to function in society. March 8, 2015 Another night at Chilis, I had a deaf couple sit with me at my table. Without the ability to sign, needless to say, this was very difficult for me.
I had them point to what they want on the menu and would give a thumbs up/thumbs down with facial expression to ask whether or not they were satisfied with their food. This was the best of my ability and ended up making it through, but it was extremely challenging. Thank goodness they were nice and patient with me.
Obviously learning to sign cannot be forced upon someone, but I think learning basics in school should definitely be encouraged. If this took place in grade school, people would grow up learning to interact with others who are just like them but differ slightly in their method of communication. If I would have learned this in school, I would have known how to communicate with the couple who sat at my table. The lack of awareness of the population that is deaf has definitely caused a disadvantage for people who are deaf. It leads them to seek communities that can properly attend to their needs, like the Deaf community.
Places like this consist of only people who are deaf and then they can choose to communicate however they see best fits. Our society has unfortunately caused this separation when we should all interact in society together in order to maintain order and productivity. March 12, 2015 I was having a conversation with my boyfriend today about people who have phobias. Often times when we think of disability, we think about the physical impairments that one has, but there are many mental disorders that can cause disability in society.
Some people struggle in their everyday lives constantly worrying about specific things and it is beyond their control. For example, someone may have a phobia of getting into a car crash or cars being close to them. This can affect their life in a tremendous way. Society highly functions with the ability to use a car for transportation. If someone has this phobia, then they are constantly worried or avoiding situations that would provoke these kind of thoughts that control their mind. They could be using alternative methods of transportation like walking, biking, etc.
However, this makes it very difficult for them to be a productive member of society because they can only do the bare minimum and would not be able to travel or get to places that they may be required to go to. Having phobias can be very disabling because of the norms that society has developed over time. We are becoming a more technologically based society and have expectations for all people to meet the needs and standards in order for it to function properly. The fact of the matter is, people definitely overlook mental and cognitive disabilities that could have a major impact on someone functions in society.