When I was a kid I had two relatives severely disabled, one more than the other. My mom had a distant cousin who had a daughter barby she was severely cerbral palsic, she was non verbal had no control of her body in anyway, but evidently had a steven hawkins genius IQ.
Imagine being trapped in abody so out of your control but your brain could take PI to the fiftieth decimal point? it must have been a living hell.
My other cousin was very cool very smary ,great to hang with but he had mild cerebral palsy and was blind. he was completely self sufficient, he cared for himself he made his own money, the one thing both had in common was if their parents had listened to the bureaucracy they would have been thrown away at birth.
barby was amazing and so smart, she couldn’t feed herself and one example of her intellect was when during one of her numerous hospital stays a bitchy lazy nurse who refused to feed her slopped a bowl of porridge infront of her and laughed”genius huh? then feed yourself” well we asked the nurse to comeback but barby had other ideas the nurse dumped breakfast on the over tray about an hour before we got there and when we arrived it was cold.
We went looking for her, when we found her she refused and said “she had better things to worry about”.
So we went back and were about to feed her when the bitch walked in, Barby got that famous mischievious look in her eyes and as the nurse got close she seemed to try and aim her arm and swing at the porridge, the first time she missed, the econd time was closer but the third time she swung the nurse wore it all over her front and barby started laughing hysterically and smiling like a cheshire cat, now who was the smart one?
my blind cousin turned out to be a expert on computers in the early days and made a good living, But because of the antebellum attitudes to the disabled barby died of choking when another impatient nurse shoved food in because she was in a hurry and there was no legal recourse because she was deemed so disabled her death from something like this was inevitable.
When my great grandma was an elderly woman in the sixties the disabled and elderly used to be pushed out like cattle onto the porch all day and left unattended for so long many sat in their own excrement but noone cared they were past their used by dates according to the medical model of the day.
The medical module for disabled care for most of the twentieth century were large goverment looking grey cement buildings many windowless where the disabled were warehoused never to see daylight unless it was family day when they would be cleaned up of their own waste put into real actual clothes and spoken about by nurses like they were mindless plebians who even if they were noticed were considered of no interest so they would be spoken about and over but never ever too, and any activities if they ever cared to think them necessary were usually barely one step above finger painting for toddlers.
During these early exposures for the world of the disabled,even though I was in my world as a chronic epileptic was treated as less then human so often I was still only seeing from the outside in to places with archaic names like “MINDA HOUSE” or the south australian “SPASTIC” center. or the center for the care of the “RETARDED” when ever they were allowed to leave they were transported like livestock in buses painted in garish cloros with these disgusting terms painted two feet high normally surrounded by flowers or puppys and kittens so stealth and retaining ones dignity were never an option.
When my son adam was born in 1989 he was born with aspergers, hydrochepalus mental and physical delay and two holes in his heart and a speech delay, so once again the world of the dis and otherwise abled became my world this time however I was the momma bear demanding that the level of care at least be upto date enough that one wasn’t required to blow dust off the binder of the text book written about it! by the time adam was starting regular school the world of disabled treatment and therapies wer slowly crawling somewhere near the century we lived in. We had therapists who cared ,doctors who shared and advances were actually achieved there were still the mausoleums and grey cement bunkers for the forgotten and thrown away but choices were at last at least offerred and discernible.
Fast forwar to the 2000,s and I myself am in the world of those who live with wheels under their asses and we have adaptive sporrts and spinal cord injury of america and life rolls on adaptive surfing and skating and adaptive rock climbing and the challenged atheletes foundation all modern cutting edge groups that refer to us as athletes not patients and were engaged not entombed we belong to society not to a sub culture. I’m not saying our world is perfect, far from it but we do at least have a world and it is allowed by those in power to rotate in the same galaxy as those who walk upright amongst us.
In the united states we have our civil rights carved in stone in the form of the Americans with disabilities act, we have our own sporting stars in the form of jesse billauer the founder of life rolls on and now the 2015 adaptive surfing world champion.
Aarron Wheelz fotheringham the star of Nitro circus the wcmx god and a light at the end of the tunnel we with wheels under our asses can aim for when the abelists tell us we should sit in the corner and dribble because we can’t do the hard things, the fun things, whether wheelz has actually ever flipped the bird half way through a triple back flip or not, by the very fact that he does these mindblowing stunts perpetually flips the bird to the attitudes of old and the medical modules that scream Keep that gimp in adult diapers a hospital gown and out of sight for godsake”
I’m sure if Barby was alive today she would be on a surfboard being pushed out to surf at a liferolls on event, and my blind cousin would be some kind of public advocate for the rights of the disabled.
Finally were allowed to be who ever we dream we can be , were allowed to reach how ever high we can dream and if we decide to base jump from the peak when we get there there is an adaptive club somewhere to teach us how. Otherwise abled is the new PC term ,but unlike all other forms of P.C. I have ever seen before, this one doesn’t scream bullshit it keeps the bullshit away you see when something is “DIS” it is deemed less than but when it is other wise it equal just alternative.
When I am at the top of a rockwall noone knows whose the wheelchair is, so for those few minutes I am not “dis” I am equal
When I am on my mountain top ranch land in new mexico building my cabin I am not “dis” I am queen of the hill I own all I survey