Monday, December 19, 2011

disability perspective / MS

Q ...What is a disability perspective?
A ... disability perspective is a viewpoint that considers the needsand aspirations of disabled people and their families.

I offer as an example a tale of two stories...

“Christmas By The Lake” Boiling Springs, PA
When surreal becomes real, you’re just glad you were part ofit.  “Christmas by the Lake” hosted bythe Boiling Springs High School Alumni Association could not have been a moreenjoyable winter outing.

Upon arriving we found wheelchair van accessible parking availablein front of Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Lowering our van ramp we found ourselves also in the staging areaof the Pioneer Girls (a variation of Girl Scout Daisies) and parents. Our‘transformer’ van quickly became show and tell to young inquiry minds who inturn shared with us all their exciting adventures lighting the luminaires. Welaughed and smiled as the curious ‘heart of childhood’ embraced differences sohonestly and innocently.

Our push and roll around the lake was mesmerizing with hundreds ofreal luminaries plus a fully lit Christmas Tree floating in the lake. Patti inher wool cape, mittens, hat and buggy bag wheelchair lap blanket declared shewas “quite toasty” in spite of a ‘real feel of 29˚F (-1.6˚C)’.
When we needed to abandon the path and use the side of the streetfor a block, the reflective strip on Patti wheelchair lap blanket shone like abeacon in the lights of approaching cars.

Christmas music filled the air, Santa roamed about ho ho hoing and chestnutsand marshmallows were available for roasting over a fire pit.  Everything was free including hot chocolate,hot dogs, and Christmas cookies. MS symptoms of dysphagia restricted us to hotchocolate and cookies but that was ‘no problemo’, they were delicious.

Horse drawn carriage rides were also available but we did notexplore as rarely are they easily accessible and Patti could care less - shealready has me, her trusty one-man open sleigh horse.
Now the same event as reported by mainstream media … Lights line the lake in annual Boiling Springs event
12% of Americans are affected by disability, add in theircaregivers and families and you are talking about a quarter to a third of anycommunity’s population.

Including disability perspective into news or promotions is notabout political correctness, it is inclusive and welcoming to people of allabilities.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer