Access: Disability, identity and the internet
Individuals with even the most complex identities and niche interests can find like-minded people with whom to virtually congregate.
This is very much the case in autism, the area of disability with which I'm most familiar -- with the added bonus that many AS people find it easier to communicate without the additional noise of face-to-face interaction. That's certainly been the case for my younger son, who talks (literally) and types to people who share his interests -- it's been a significant part of his socialisation.
Which doesn't mean that everything that happens is good -- the autism blogosphere can be a very fraught place at times. I'll write about that here some time :-)
(not the internet but the real world)
I've had an interesting journey in the past year going through a small injury to something more major, a couple of months on my back, crutches, stumbling around, and now a slow recovery to normality (I'm lucky, I'm someone for whom ACC has largely worked well).
What really interested me was how, without really trying, I somehow joined the disabled community as my mobility decreased, I started to exchange smiles with other people having trouble getting around, conversations in the physio pool, people helped me with the vagaries of parking permits so I could actually park close enough to do stuff (Dunedin's largely dismantled disabled parking system really sucks), etc I somehow slowly engaged with a community I hadn't really seen before, and I somehow seem to be slowly disengaging from some of that as I no longer look like I belong.
Simone Hindin, in reply to
It's interesting that you perceive a disengagement because you look like you no longer belong. I've been made aware over the past six years of what it's like to live with an 'invisible' chronic illness and how within the disabled community these are frequently over looked and even not counted despite being as completely disabling. And of course, not being covered by ACC, although it's good to hear that that system works for some.
Also, great post. I agree that the internet's an important place for people with disabilities to have an equal voice and also find people with similar experiences when physically getting to 'support group' can be impossible.
Sacha, in reply to
frequently over looked and even not counted
Totally. I'll add some posts on population stats - you wouldn't believe the archaic attitudes from some public agencies.
Thanks Chelle. Internet community has really saved my bacon at times.
The Press misses a chance to champion disabled people's rights:
In a story all about the CDHB (Canterbury District Health Board) submission on the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill.
One councillor (part-time clown Aaron Keown) was all for stickers for earthquake prone buildings while largely ignoring the more sensible focus of councillor Jo Kane's disagreement..
"..with the bill's proposal to remove the requirement for building owners to improve access for people with disabilities while strengthening work was being carried out - a proposal the CDHB submission said was "inconsistent with the Humans Rights Act".
"What a cop-out for the whole of New Zealand. Of course it's always about money, but it should be about people,"
Mea culpa - I confess I missed that aspect on first reading, I was more pissed off at Keown's usual counter-productive publicity seeking subversion of process - thanks to the anonymous 'Analyst' commenter for jumping on it roundly)
What do you think about posting an "Ask me anything" thread on Access?
If people are uncomfortable getting asked ANY questions, then you could pick questions to share e.g how people get past obstacles( what the biggest ones are for them), what they need or would like changed, what they are passionate about etc. I know we all live in our own mind made worlds, each one unique, but we all share in existence.
Chelle Hope, in reply to
Hi BDB Inc,
I do apologise for not replying to you earlier. I actually tried this a while ago myself and I didn't get one question. I thought it would be a good idea, too. People just didn't engage with it at all.
Hopefully through blogposts and discussions people will be able to learn and expand on their knowledge. I'm certainly happy to take suggestions for topics, myself. Though I make no guarantees that I will actually write on them, I am always keen to hear what others would like to read about. Thanks very much for your suggestion.
BDB Inc, in reply to
Its a shame that people didn't engage.
But big Yes- I think your blog posts discussions are warm, friendly and encouraging and because you open your heart I think people would be comfortable asking you questions.
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