There are days and there are days. There are days I like: Thanksgiving; Labor Day; the first day of spring.
This is a day I’d rather not see again; Bloging Against Disablism Day, the sixth in what I fear will be a rather long run.
For the uninitiated, disablism is how most of the world treats people who have disabilities, like parking in a space reserved for handicapped people “just for a minute” while you run into the store. If that isn’t clear, a detailed description is available.
I’ve come across an example of disablism in my school.
Yesterday there were two students in our library all day. They weren’t there to do research; they were there because they have injuries that require them to use crutches. Apparently our school does not allow students using crutches to go above the ground floor, but all our classrooms are on
the two higher floors. We have an elevator but students can’t use it.
While all of their classmates are getting instruction, they sit in the library. The teachers are supposed to send down work for them to do but they usually don’t. Even if they do, it is a textbook and a worksheet, not exactly inspired teaching.
While all their classmates are chatting, socializing and learning together, these two boys (last year it was girls) sit and talk to each other. Sometimes they get so desperate for conversation they talk to me!
These boys don’t really think of themselves as disabled but they are, at least for the next six to eight weeks. That is not the problem.
The problem, what makes this an example of disablism, is that despite kids repeatedly breaking ankles, legs and other things necessitating crutches, my school has not come up with a better plan for dealing with these mobility issues and the students who have them.
It is truly an issue of “out of sight, out of mind.”
People who have disabilities don’t hide like they used to, don’t make it as easy to keep them out of mind as it once was. They’re on the streets, in the stores and at work more and more all the time. That visibility is helping to create mindfullness.
I hope this blog post contributes to this growing awareness. With any luck I won’t have to write a post like this next year.