How many of you that have a friend or relative with a disability and when you introduce them to other people it goes like:
"This is Steve, he's [insert disability]".
Right off the bat you let a stranger know the other's person's "faults". (as it feels to us).
This was posted on Facebook a while back by J. Sims:
"Disempowerment by disclosing something personal like about an individual's disability without consent is a thorny source of feeling under-privileged!"
It's that individual's sole right to disclose their disability or not. Many are pro-active in telling the general public what they need for accommodations and we have done fine before you and will continue to be fine after you.
When you do that, it automatically changes the mental perspective of the other person before they've known you. Is that fair really? For example, friends and family would introduce me and go "she's Deaf", I can physically see the facial changes to awkwardness and other expressions and then they're "How....are....you". If you left out that part, they'll just greet you like everyone else and if I missed something I just simply say "sorry, can you look at me when you talk please" and the conversation continues without batting an eyelash. See the difference?
If you or I don't directly point my deafness out, it will become obvious to them, the ask to repeat, the deaf accent, and so on.
Let's turn the tables a bit:
"This is Joe, he's incontinent"
"This is Sue, she has 15 parking tickets due"
"This is Don, he has 3 mistresses"
See how freaking uncomfortable (and no one's business) it is now?
So, stop disclosing things about us without our consent. I know you want to help us, but I promise you, it doesn't.
Any People with Disabilities (PWD) have suggestions for alternate ways around this? Let me know in comments.
Yeah, I know I sound like Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory", but seriously how many times those of us with handicap parking placards try and find a parking spot and find some idiot in it instead?
The excuses these people give:
One large misconception is that people seem to think that because there is a picture of a person in a wheelchair on the sign, if you're not in a wheelchair you're not entitled to park there.
C'mon folks there are a multitude of reasons those that seem to be able to walk need a placard too. Some are:
Now for those of us who do have a legit parking placard, what can we do when we see people parking in our spot?
One way is to use an iOS app called Parking Mobility - Report disabled parking abuse to your city in less than two minutes. When you see a vehicle parked illegally, simply launch Parking Mobility, take 3 photos and submit. We tell the city and they ticket the vehicle’s owner.
If your city isn't located in the app above, or you don't want the app, the way to report illegal parking is:
Let's make it easy on everyone and park where you're supposed to!
Tell me your parking stories!
No, not you political reporters - go back to your petty squabbles.
I'm talking about those reporters who write about people with disabilities. Yeah I called you dumb and ignorant. Hurts don't it?
Then maybe you should stop using such bullshit terms when writing about us, hmm? The words you use to describe people with disabilities are very patronizing and paint us in a negative light.
Let me give you a few examples:
Forget the stupid "clickbait" title. Here's some of the wording that's cringe-worthy:
I already shared my disdain about the viral post of the student helping the Deafblind man on the flight. It was great she helped, but the writing was blatantly patronizing and belittling of the Deafblind man.
Some other words I've seen used are:
When you're writing these words you're saying -
"glad it's not me"
"I wouldn't be able to do that"
"how can they live like that"
"Look at what we nice people did for them"
"Look at how special and different they are"
You get my point?
So, if you want to write about people with disabilities it's best to 1) interview them and show their story as they tell it, or 2) Learn the proper terminology - read blogs by people with disabilities, look at web pages of various agencies serving people with disabilities, or ASK that group!
Because all it comes down to is that people with disabilities are just like everyone else that do things just "a bit different".
So just stop putting us in a bad light and using us to make yourself feel better!
Now if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact me. I'll be happy to help!
Following up to yesterday's post about the bad wording and treating the deafblind man as a prop, I came across this article from The Mighty that is really helpful to remember for the Deafblind as well.
And if you notice #10 - I do not exist to make you look awesome.
- Don't make a big show out of helping me to look like a hero.
- Don't talk about me patronizingly - Look at what she can do.
- Don't treat me like a trained seal - Show everyone what you can do.
One more thing that's the bane of many people with disabilities - condescending praise or "false praises" - "good job on (mundane task)", "Woooow that's great you can do that!", "- it's the tone behind the message, you get the idea?
This happens so many times (I've lost count myself) that many are veryal and leery of compliments as we're not sure you're being genuine or not. As one online friend said "I've been patted on the head so many times that one of these days I'm going to bark 'Woof'."
So, next time you meet a Blind, Deaafblind, Deaf, or Disabled person - treat us like everyone else - it's that simple.
Recently, I went to a Job Fair hosted by the Department of Rehabilitation Services Visual Services Department (for clients who are Blind or have Vision Loss). I'll leave out the location, that's not important, but it was a disappointment to say the least.
I’d say there was only about 8 tables altogether:
There were no local Clubs for the Blind, other agencies, local big businesses, and so on.
I've also been to a few Online job fairs in the past:
One was for people with various Disabilities:
Another was specifically for Work from Home positions for People with Disabilities:
* Applicant 1: Hi, I'm looking for a programming job, I have a Masters in (yadayada)
* Applicant 2: I am seeking a job in Arizona, who can I talk to about availability?
* Recruiter 1: Hi Applicant 1, great qualifications, please check our job board on our website www.abcxyz.bs
* Recruiter 2: Hello Applicant 2, yes we have jobs in Arizona, please check out our job board at www.abcxyz.bs
And around and around that BS went. Why the Hell do we wait for this event just to be redirected to a job board on your site? We could've done that ourselves ages ago!
So, here's what I think are the five essential qualities of a successful job fair should be:
1. Audience Focused
I think this is the most important element of any job fair.
Decide who is the focus target group you are addressing. Is it for Youth, People with Disabilities (in general or a specific group), Veterans, a certain career, or a location?
Once you've decided this it's easier to focus your research and invitation list. Some "generic" job areas are acceptable - having administrative and management job centers at a computer programming fair. Don't have a criminal and convict re-entry program at a job fair aimed at blind and vision loss.
Invite more companies than you plan on. This way you'll have a fail-safe number of recruiters showing up as there's sure to be a few that decline the invitation. This way you're not scrambling to fill space and ask your friend to bring her direct sales products in. If they all accept the invitation, that's even better!
2. Include Local Organizations, Clubs and Agencies
If you're hosting a job fair focused on Youth, or people with Disabilities and such, please include the local specialized agencies as well.
In the instance I mentioned above, the job fair did not have the local Council of the Blind, or other local agencies for vision loss.
Why should you include these? They'll know specifics your focus group may need for job accommodations, may have a mentoring program, other unrelated training and such. These organization representatives may also help facilitate with you and other company recruiters and share information to the recruiters that may not understand disability needs, and so on.
3. Educate the Recruiters
If you're hosting a specialized job fair, put together a information package for the invited recruiters. Information such as dos & don'ts, correct lingo and language, and so on.
Nothing like going to a Job Fair for the Deaf and have one recruiter enunciating all his words at you. A BIG no-no in the Deaf community.
Make it comfortable for both parties.
4. Offer Workshops and Seminars throughout the event
Have a workshop or seminar on how job seekers can improve their chances of gaining employment.
5. Have "Actual" Jobs Available
As I mentioned about the Online Job Fair, potential applicants were directed to the website for job listings and did not have actual jobs in mind.
The on-site job fairs I've been to were mainly "resume collectors" and "we'll let you know if you're a fit". Other attendees offered more training - as a friend said:
"Job fairs should be called "Training Fairs". They all see to offer training to get a job, but seldom do they actually hire anyone! "If you do this training, you'd be more hire-able in that field..." Big whoop!" (Another disappointed attendee)
So, those are my 5 essential qualities of a successful job fair. I hope to actually attend one that I will enjoy.
Any further suggestions can be put into comments and if there's enough I'll post a follow-up.
Hang in there! Winter is almost over!
Today's "Welcome Wednesday" is Brian Switzer - Deafblind Athlete.
Brian has been featured in the Alaskan Dispatch News and Runner’s World for his running exploits. He runs with the help of human guides and his running guide dog, Intrigue.
He was on the first team of all blind and visually impaired athletes to successfully complete a Ragnar Relay Ultra. He ran in the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon. He is most known for running in the Equinox Marathon with his human guide, Marco, in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness! It is widely considered to be the fifth toughest marathon in the world.
Brian runs to raise awareness of Usher Syndrome and the abilities of people with disabilities. He also runs to support charities like the Usher Syndrome Coalition.
In April, he will be running in Genoa, Italy with fellow DeafBlind athlete, Alessandro! The adventure will be highlighted on Brian’s Facebook page.