Sunday, December 11, 2005

Resisting the Impulse to Devalue Life as Lived With A Disability

A friend sent me this link, to a recent broadcast on NPR. It is excellent, and speaks for itself.

"NPR : Valuing Life, Whether Disabled or Not"

1 comment:

Ranter said...

This was a really interesting clip to hear and it touched a chord for me. My mother brought me up to be as independent as I could be. She felt that it was going to be harder for me to make friends, have romantic relationships, etc. She felt that I had to have something more to draw people to me and she insisted I do everything I could for myself. She also encouraged me to write, draw, play music. She felt that if I were great at something artistic, people would want to be around me. In and of itself, encouraging the arts is not a bad thing, but telling someone their whole identity hinges around whether they practice their violin or not, is pretty bad. My mother is also a firm believer that I will walk someday. I have spina bifida, and so have been disabled from birth. She gets all excited about the damaged nerve regrowth research that is happening, even though I tell her that not having the nerves in the first place is a completely different story. She needs to believe that I will walk one day, and hence my life will be better as a result.

Now, I'm not saying that being in a wheelchair is a walk in the park. It comes with its share of issues and barriers, both internal and external. But, as this broadcast suggests, the problem is society's view on disability and its constant need to fix it. And you'd think that family, those closest to you, would understand the value of disability, but often they do not and family members react all too like the father in this story at the funeral. And hey, if families don't get it, who the hell is supposed to?