Ablism – What Is It?

Watching The Last Leg with Adam Hills (you can watch the episode on iVew) last night I realized I hadn’t really investigated the word “Ablism” before. I had heard of it, but I hadn’t really thought it would be applicable to me.

However, when I came across this from HERE, it blew my mind. Since primary school when I was integrated, I met a friend who treated me like anyone else, I haven’t felt “disabled”. (Even though in Prep I accidentally bit her finger when she assisted me eating one lunchtime!)  Through secondary college, there were times where I felt left out due to my disability both educationally and socially. Missing out on going to excursions and camps really made me think “hang on …why couldn’t they find an accessible place?” This was after Mum had questioned their venues.

Now as a 40something woman, I’m finding some attitudes reverting to acknowledging peoples’ disabilities and health conditions at the foremost when they think of them. As a dear friend used to say, “If you’re a dickhead who happens to have a disability, you’re a dickhead.” It’s the same if you have a lovely family member or friend who has a disability, some people don’t think of their limitations or equipment, they only think of the person.

Of course, if you’re holding a function and you would like to invite a person or persons with a disability, you must take their needs into consideration for them to be able to attend, and for myself, that’s the ultimate form of love you could show me.  

In the list HERE, it talks about able-bodied people touching peoples’ equipment to lean on. This is one of my pet hates! It’s like “Dude, please don’t!” I’ve had people hang onto my back which is a big trigger for me! Then some people decide to lean on my portable eyegaze mount which cost over $5,000 or more! One small part we had to replace last year from a little accident was $800! On the flip side, if a friend puts their elbow on your armrest to get closer to you, I love that! AND of course, Frankie one of our furbabies has scratched my left back tyre since he was a kitten…he’ll always be allowed to do so!

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