People with disabilities, no matter whether they work, or what positions they hold in companies, often are great managers. Why? Because...we have to manage finding different ways of doing things when we’re unable to. Metaphorically, you can throw us into the deep end of the pool, and more likely than not, will be able to swim because we’ve always had to, since we’ve so rarely known anything other than deep water.
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Being a part of a community of others with disabilities has always been a huge benefit to me since there seems to be an instant empathy and understanding between us, since we either all have disabilities, or we are allies of those with disabilities. Our untold story, I believe, is huge and complex because it encompasses the history of the disability rights movement that so many people outside of it don’t know.
Friends sometimes ask how my spouse or I are adjusting to my recent neurological diagnosis. It's unusual that someone asks how the changes have affected my immediate family, even though it has caused a massive rewrite of our collective past. So many times before my behavior was described as “difficult” or “frustrating” and needs to be changed to “struggling.” We realize kids born in the 80’s were rarely diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder prior to adulthood. Still, it’s hard not to wonder how my life might be different if I had started therapy a few decades earlier.
I think the way our society talks about the differently able tries to categorize people within their limitations, rather than draw out their unique perspectives and skills. Calling a person disabled unnecessarily accentuates the ‘dis-’, and overlooks the overwhelmingly evident fact that he or she is just as able, in the affected area, though the tasks involved may be more laborious to complete. Saying ‘dis-’ puts his or her enormous capabilities on the backburner.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides broad protections for people with disabilities to prevent discrimination. The Act maintains that places of public accommodation must be accessible to those with disabilities. Amusement parks have a duty to ensure that they comply with the ADA.
Those who have disabilities often cannot endure waiting in long lines in hot weather. Amusement parks provide individuals with “fast passes” that allow them to cut lines if they have a disability. Amusement parks are increasingly trying to take the needs of individuals with disabilities into consideration.
I remember the first time I ever saw one. I was in the college cafeteria, and I’d never seen anything like it before. I’m sure I stared, but I didn’t mean anything by it. I mean, they didn’t have anything like it back where I grew up, not that I am all that sheltered, you know. I mean, I have seen things, and I’m not prejudiced or anything. Really, I’m not. It was just a natural reaction to something so different. I just didn’t want to use it. I just didn’t really trust that that something so odd would even work. Hell, it was so strange that I wasn’t even sure how to use it. But I pride myself on having an open mind, so I tried it. I used it on the meatloaf, and it worked. And then I used it on the mushroom soup and it worked again. “I’ll be damned,” I remember saying to my friends, “this spoon-fork is pretty creative!” And then someone told me that term was impolite, that the correct term was spork!