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Beyond Accessibility: Treating People With Disabilities As People

970 words - 4 pages

Most people feel relatively uncomfortable when they meet someone with an obvious physical disability. Usually, the disability seems to stand out in ones mind so much that they often forget the person is still a person. In turn, their discomfort is likely to betray their actions, making the other person uncomfortable too. People with disabilities have goals, dreams, wants and desires similar to people without disabilities. Andre Dubus points out very clearly in his article, "Why the Able-bodied Still Don't Get It," how people's attitudes toward "cripples" effect them. It's is evident that although our society has come a long way with excepting those with physical disabilities, people do not understand that those with physical disabilities are as much human as the next personThe Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 set out to end the discrimination people with disabilities encounter. The Act gave disabled people the right to employment, access to goods, facilities, and services and the right to buy and rent land and property. These rights came into force in December 1996, making treating a disabled person less favorably than an able-bodied person unlawful. Further rights came into force in October 1999, including the idea that service providers should consider making reasonable adjustments to the way they deliver their services so that people with a disability can use them. (The DDA...) However, despite these regulations, people with disabilities still experience difficulty carrying out normal day to day activities on a regular basis. Many people do not realize how lucky they are. They feel like they are going through tough times and complain about all sorts of things, when they do not realize the agonies that some people have to go through just to make it through the day. For example, one day Dubus said he was walking at the bottom of a hill and saw someone in a wheelchair. The guy asked him for help up the hill. Dubus said he "felt the embarrassment of being whole while he (the other guy) was not." (223) In addition, when he was reading about the quadriplegic he thought, " Who will carry the quadriplegic up even one step to a restaurant? And why would he want to be carried, when his helplessness, his very meatness, slaps his soul...He will forever be dependent on someone. He cannot sit on a toilet, he cannot wipe himself, or shave, shower, make his bed, dress. He will use a catheter. He cannot cook. He will not feel the heat of a women except on his face." Those are just a few things that able-bodied people take for granted. (233)I interviewed a friend of mine, Mark, who has been mute since he was three years old. He can say a few words, but he mostly just mouths everything and we read his lips. One thing that tends to...

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