Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.

-Me

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Implications of the Word Disability

In what seems like long ago, while applying for SSI for my son, I struggled with the implications of the word disability. I struggled with labeling my son and therein limiting my son. I felt as though if I stated that my son was disabled, I was taking away his rights to accomplish whatever he may dream of. I felt as though I would be limiting my son to the preconceived notions concerning what a child with his specific disability may or may not be capable of.

Back then, the word disability was all about limits. But I’m not afraid to use that word anymore.

The word disability may seem limiting. Labeling someone with a disability may seem limiting. But disability advocacy is all about opening doors and removing those limitations. My child who has a disability has the same rights as a child without a disability. These things include:
1.) Attend school at a public school with other kids that don’t have disabilities (with whatever supports he needs to accomplish that)
2.) Choose who he wants to befriend
3.) Participate in extracurricular activities (even if he requires additional supports to do so)

For so long children with disabilities were excluded from basic things like the above-listed. The behaviors my son displayed in a public-school setting before supports would have been enough to place him in a segregated school setting that would have taken away all of the above three basic rights. In addition to the rights he has now, disability advocacy is opening doors and taking away limitations for my child as he grows into an adult.

When my son is an adult he can expect to:
1) Choose what he wants to do for a living (not just any job the community thrusts at him)
2) Choose where and in what type of setting he wants to live
3) Choose who his doctors are
4) Choose who his friends are
5) Choose what he wants to spend his money on

Disability advocacy is all about choices and opportunities, and making sure children and adults with disabilities have the same choices and opportunities you and I would have.

Under that pretense, the “word” disability seems a whole lot less limiting.

On a political note, the SCHIPS bill is up for vote in the Senate today. This would raise the annual allowable family income for a family of four to qualify for State Healthcare for their children from around $42,000 to $62,000. Do you know any families that this bill, if passed, would help? I guarantee you do. Call your Senator today and urge them to vote yes for this bill. And if you don’t know who your Senator is or what the phone number is? Go here.

I dare you to take action to make a positive change for the families in your community. Go on. Do it.

(Edit: Day late, dollar short, they voted yesterday....Good news though, Senate voted yes with enough of a majority to override the expected presidential veto.....And ya, I called yesterday. Please visit the sight though, there are other great opportunities to be an advocate for families, and you might be surprised to find an opportunity to advocate for youself (see the ADA Restoration Act, and ask yourself how it affects the relationship between employers and their employees with diabetes).

1 comment:

cesnh said...

Sarah,

You are amazing!

Colleen