Today is the international day of persons with disabilities and I thought I would write my top ten thoughts about having multiple disabilities …
1. Having a disability means that you will inevitably find yourself in a really awkward conversation or situation on a very regular basis. Some people just don’t know how to interact with people with disabilities or a feature of your disability might put you in an awkward situation. For example, I have a tremor in my hand and I often accidentally hit people.
2. Some people automatically assume that because you have a physical disability, you must have an intellectual disability as well and have an inability to comprehend and/or make decisions.
3. People will always have an opinion about your life, and what you should or should not do. Furthermore, people will always compare your disability to someone else.
4. It is amazing how many people think it is all right to park in mobility car parks when they don’t have a pass. Likewise, it is amazing how many people think it’s okay to say to a young person with a mobility pass that they shouldn’t be parking in a mobility spot, despite having a legitimate reason to do so.
5. A perk of having a disability is that you can get government funding to have support workers come and help you do things you might find difficult to do yourself. The down side is you can’t do it yourself when you want it done or if you do, you’ll pay the price in some other way for example fatigue, pain, broken bones etc.
6. You always have to fight to get the funding that you need for support workers and therapy support. You’ll always be questioned as to whether your condition is genuine and whether it actually impacts you the way you and your medical team have outlined. If you don’t fight back, you don’t get what you need and this is always at a detriment.
7. Not everyone is accepting of people with disabilities and willing to make the necessary accommodations to cater for people with disabilities. Discrimination against people with disabilities occurs on a regular basis.
8. Travelling with a disability has unique challenges. Wheelchair assistance through airports differs from each airport. Some are extremely helpful and others make their own judgement call that you must be able to walk despite you booking a wheelchair way in advance. Some people just always question the legitimacy of things.
9. Sometimes having disabilities means that you have to fight for medical care that would automatically be given to a person without a disability, or you get questioned as to whether something is not just because you have a particular disability. Refusal of medical care to people with disabilities is sadly not uncommon.
10. Having a disability means that you have to learn to make self-deprecating jokes just to lighten up the mood for the other person or to have a laugh at your own expense 🙂