Archive for the ‘Assumptions’ Category

Service of What the Public Must Learn About People with Disabilities

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Photo: medicalxpress.com

I suddenly went deaf in both ears and didn’t know why. It turns out it was a garden variety ear infection but I didn’t know that and spent three weeks in a silent world.

At the time I visited a boutique in Lenox, Mass. looking at blouses and a saleswoman came over. I assumed she’d said—“May I help you?” or something close. When I told her I was totally deaf and added “thank you, I’ll let you know if I need anything,” she looked at me with panic. I’ll never forget her expression of alarm.

You couldn’t tell by looking at me that anything was off kilter, yet this brief experience made me realize how people with permanent conditions must feel daily. So when Helen Rabinovitz suggested a post on what the public assumes about people with disabilities I accepted with enthusiasm.

This is what she wrote:

Lisa Rabinovitz with Ethan, the service dog she trained herself.

My 33 year old daughter has Cerebral Palsy. Lisa is beautiful, articulate and has a genius IQ. Yet people see her in a power wheelchair and assume she can’t communicate. It’s insulting that able bodied people think that people with disabilities are less than smart.

Rewind to middle school. My husband and I get called to the headmaster’s office three times. He said “Lisa isn’t trying,” or “She’s not participating,” for example. Finally on visit number three I said to him… “The problem is that her teachers see her wheelchair first and Lisa second. She’s smarter than they are so she’s bored!” No more visits to the office! When the school got computers, which were upstairs in a building with no elevator, administrators sat Lisa with an aide downstairs. She taught the aide how to use it.

High school…Lisa, her service dog and sister Rachael are in the hall and a teacher came over to chat. She spoke directly to Rachael and then said to be sure and tell Lisa what she’d said. Rae told her she could speak directly to Lisa. Embarrassed teacher!!

Just because a person uses a wheelchair or walker or crutches doesn’t mean they’re stupid. It’s important to treat everyone we meet, no matter how they get around, with the respect and consideration everyone expects.

Do you assume that if a person suffers from one affliction it impacts everything else about them? Are you uncomfortable around people with disabilities? Why do you think that is? What might be done to disabuse the public of their false notions about disabled friends, students, colleagues and strangers?

 

Photo: reddit.com

Service of Assumptions That Get You Into Trouble

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Photo: brickunderground.com

The old saying “to assume makes an ass of you and me” can cause far worse repercussions than a spot of embarrassment–it can be dangerous. It’s best to assume nothing.

Photo: mnn.com

Tuesday morning an elevator operator survived a four story fall down an elevator shaft in Manhattan’s SOHO neighborhood.  According to ABC 7 New York “the 49 year old man was on the third floor of the building when he stepped into the open shaft, but there was no elevator there.” He landed in the basement. Amazingly his injuries were not life-threatening. He must have assumed that as it was every other day, the elevator was in place when the doors opened that morning.

Photo: railway-technology.com

As I write this I haven’t read or heard what the motivation or thoughts of the driver of the vehicle in the horrendous accident on Tuesday might have been. He [or she] swerved past the closed railroad gate while bells announcing the oncoming eastbound train clanged at a Long Island Railroad crossing. My conjecture: the driver assumed he could make it and thought the risk was a better option than the wait. The westbound train also hit the car and the three in it died. The impact was so fierce that first responders couldn’t identify the make of the car.

New Yorkers and other city dwellers walk into elevators countless times a day. Do we pay attention before stepping in to confirm that it—and not an empty hole—is on the other side of the open doors? Do people take outrageous chances, like the driver in the terrible LI Railroad crossing accident, assuming that they are fast, clever, agile or smart enough to survive a potentially deadly choice?

Photo: mobilityelevator.com

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