Yesterday was the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act becoming law. I wrote a post about what it means to and for me 30 years later last year. You can read that here: https://wordpress.com/posts/thrivingwithcerebralpalsy.com?s=What+the+A What I want to talk about, now, is the work still to be done. Yes, the ADA made the playing field more level. I am very grateful to everybody who worked to make the law a reality.
That said, the work remaining is not just legal or legislative work. It is collective work requiring lots of brave and together from all of us. I started this blog, partly, because I wanted to take some of the stigma away from my condition. I wanted to give the world what living with CP is like from my perspective. I named the blog what I did purposefully. Everybody who loves me /knows me best knows I simply will not just live or survive with CP: I thrive. Going in public means strangers are going to treat me differently than I would like occasionally. People stare a lot. Questions are better than staring…mostly. Invasive questions bother me. Why some people believe they have the right to ask questions they would not feel comfortable answering if they were asked is a mystery to me.
I ordered business cards to carry in my wallet, so when people are invasive or rude, I can simply say go check out my blog either on my website or social media. Granted the pandemic made going out almost nonexistent for well over a year. Looking forward to seeing the reaction the first time I get the chance. In fact, I may share the details here.
I do not want or need pity. When strangers ask to pray over me for healing in public: I do not foresee me ever being comfortable with that. Thinking about how to approach these situations going forward (the pandemic gave me ample time to think) I have decided to say no thank you, but you can pray for me, though. You can pray I use my condition to showcase my faith, make the world better for everybody who is different, allow all people I meet to feel loved, seen, respected, valued, and valid by me. Have a great rest of your day.
There are places I want to go but cannot be due to inaccessibility. My parents and I have found over the years solutions that work to get businesses to comply with the ADA. Many times, simply explaining they are not complying is enough to make them act. It blows my mind after decades there are businesses who do not know about ADA compliance, but is true. Writing letters to building owners is also effective. Petitions are a great way to get others involved and create a sense of community as well. If a business will not comply after all those remedies are exhausted: we simply chose not to spend money with that business telling others if asked.
What can you all do to help me, and others with conditions, level the playing field even more than the ADA has:
- Share my posts/follow and/or subscribe to my blog’s website/follow the blog on social media
- If you see someone who might need help that uses adaptive mobility equipment (proper term for wheelchairs/walkers/and the like): ask them if they do
- When someone is getting bullied stand up for them by calling out the behavior
- Treat me, and everybody else, the way you want to be treated. For the most part: I do not have issues with this on the blog, but there have been a few. Thank you all for kindness and support. It means so much more than I can express