UNITED STATES—Being disabled is not the death sentence it used to be, at least not here in America.
Infanticide is a daily occurrence in other countries, it is easy to imagine just how many disabled babies have been killed over the centuries. Evidence shows they were sacrificed in Rome and they say the very beginning of Rome itself was based on infanticide, when Romulus and Remus were abandoned by their mother to die in the forest.
In Greece there’s a CURRENT case of unfathomable living conditions that are not as bad as 1972’s Willowbrook but sad nonetheless. Children and adults are kept in near deplorable conditions, with a lack of funding to properly maintain let alone try any sort of rehabilitation.
Here in America there have been great strides in creating an equal playing field for all.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created in 1990 to help protect the rights of the disabled. The ways it has helped are too numerous to list completely, but here is the gist of it.
Title ONE safeguards equal opportunity employment.
Title TWO ensures access to government buildings and services.
Title THREE guarantees the same, except within private businesses.
Title FOUR provides communicative interstate and intrastate accommodations.
There are also groups with a mission to help destigmatize the disabled by using terminology called People First Language, designed to make people understand that words are powerful and too often convey negative stereotypes and “attitudinal barriers.”
BUT, I want to focus more on the evolution that needs to occur!
With large numbers of disabilities occurring as a result of trauma, and then growing numbers of people with chronic ailments of unknown origin that create a body that is unable to work the standard American day or within the standard American environment, we see examples of what DIFFERENTLY-ABLED means.
The problem we are evolving through, but not fast enough, is what to do with these differently abled individuals.
The reason they were once thrown away like garbage was because they were seen as a burden and sadly, many who do not have the opportunities to work with their impairment end up as just that, one of the many burdens on government assistance.
Due to this, it is easy for society to still see the disabled as lesser than , ESPECIALLY in the cases of unseen disabilities.
Esther Cleveland, daughter of the former president, is noted for working with a group of soldiers that were blinded. These men WERE differently-abled but became society’s ideal of ABLE, simply because they were given an opportunity to work around the limitations that prevent competition with healthy human beings.
To sum up how life for the DIFFERENTLY ABLED has evolved, would be that they could no longer be killed off, or shut in institutions but they can expect to collect a check from Uncle Sam to support the most meager of living.
Do differently abled people commonly do well enough to support themself without some form of government aid, if only medicaid? Rarely that I have ever seen.
Those who do, always have at least one supportive person on their side, whether it is a caseworker or a family member.
The country has learned to utilize people with different skills when it comes to the soldiers they (perhaps) feel responsible for injuring, but not for the rest of us, not yet. It is time to put more grant money into the creation of programs that will help differently abled people as a whole, instead of selective ailments that allow people to use discretion in rallying behind.
There are differently abled people everywhere. People who are able to do the job of three people, just from home, or in their own time span. We are under-utilized and the number of children already collecting social security for mood disorders tells us the problem isn’t getting any better.
WE NEED EMPLOYMENT SOLUTIONS NOT FOOD STAMP INCREASES.
Here is an excerpt from a powerful writing by Joe Dolson I would like to end with, summing up how someone with a disability need not be disabled:
“…people with a disability are disabled not because of an inherent inability to compensate, but because they are in an environment that requires tasks they are unable to perform. If we change the environment, we can remove the disability.”