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Issues Related To Disabilities

 

Businessman in Wheelchair This section on disability-related issues will contain articles, information, and resources for people with visual and physical disabilities. This section is not meant to meet all the needs of all individuals with disabilities; other groups may find articles and information that will apply to other needs.

My philosophy about disability is complicated and has taken me years to develop. It would be difficult to share these thoughts and feelings in just a sentence or two.  At 8, I told people my blindness was just a mere inconvenience.  At 20 I still embellished the inconvenience, but inside I was bruised, broken, and enraged.  Then, at 25, I believed my blindness should be viewed as a characteristic. I wanted people to notice me as a human being and then note that I was legally blind. Today, I still would like people to see me as a human being, woman and therapist, as well as other positive qualities before seeing me as legally blind. Unfortunately, some people see the white cane and my inability to focus. I am then judged as a blind person. As a blind person I am stigmatized and marginalized like any other minority group.

As I raised two children and tried to build a life with a visually impaired man; I felt the sting of ignorance, the slap of pity, and the quiet indifference of discomfort from him as well as people surrounding me.  During my children’s younger years, people would often stop to tell me when my daughter had dirt on her shirt. People only seemed to be there when I did not need them.

Yet, where were they when I carried my three year old home from Target with his new bedding?  Where were my friends when I needed to tell them my struggles?  It wasn’t until one cold morning while I sitting on the bus stop bench that I came to a realization. I was so used to being judged that I would not let people, including myself inside. This awareness started the beginning. I needed to get to know the truth about my feelings and the feelings of those around me. What was real? Who was safe? I began to open myself up and show others the beauty, struggle, pain, venerability, and resilience that was (and is) my life.

The rage and loneliness I felt was replaced with optimism because I am in relationships where I am viewed as a person first. Although excruciatingly slow, I have watched the reshaping of attitudes and feelings take place. To say that my blindness has not impacted my life would be outrageous. I have experienced positives and many negatives as a result of being a woman with a visual disability. I often ask myself, “Is my blindness the worst thing that has ever happened to me?” My answer to that question is no. “Would I have picked lack of vision if I had a choice?” My answer to that question is also no. My life philosophy is like a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. I suppose I could just fold and sit out of the game, let life pass me by, and see others win, but that is not my nature. I will play the cards I am dealt.

In this section I hope to share more of my thoughts, experiences and feelings. It is hoped that the disabled and professional community will read the following articles gain insight, understanding, and encouragement.

 If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

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