Thursday, April 14, 2016
I went to a seminar on disability advocacy and it had some good pointers. I may have to advocate for Para-transit services and to get some glasses. Maybe we can keep our car running so I wouldn't be dependent on the bus, but I want to start using the community transportation services more during the day to get out more during times I am not housebound. I am legal to drive but because of my legs it is now super-limited. This would enable me to go do things without needing my husband to drive me.
It interesting hearing the hints on self-advocacy and advocating for a group. I realized this blog fits a "group advocacy" approach for different groups, fat people, Aspies, Lipedemics, ACONs and others. The word advocate means to speak and take actions in favor of a cause or issue. Well many causes are very important to me from fat people being treated well, to ACONs and others being free of abuse in their lives.
Advocacy is something most disabled people have had to do to manage in life. Some things I had succeeded on like finding a program for my dental work, and also for my hearing aids. One positive of this community is there are more resources. My life has changed a lot since I got the hearing aids last year, in terms of functioning and being able to talk to people. Disabled people also should learn the different laws that do support them, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act and to know what their exact rights are. In my case, I have been accommodated most places I've asked, living in a smaller town people don't protest getting me benches and other things like at a church community meeting I went to. It can help to talk to others too. In my case, I had people share some concerns about the transportation system and give me some pointers on how to figure the system out.
There were times however I have not self-advocated in the past like when I encountered groups that met up or down stairs and who refused to move when asked nicely to another meeting venue. ACONS who are disabled are not used to getting their needs met and it can be hard sometimes to confront others and say "I can't hear you." or "I need another chair" or "Can the meeting be moved, I can't climb flights of stairs?". In my case, the kind of life I've had has forced more independence, there are people who are in my shape who live in group homes and the nursing home but it's been such that as I got older, I did have to learn to speak up for myself even for the sake of survival. It is important for disabled people to be taught how to advocate for themselves and others.