Sunday, April 11, 2010

Disability Ettiquette and me.

I've never made a post quite on this topic before in my life but as I'm pawley (tm) at the minute typing this with one paw before more rest I thought I would.
The way you treat a person with disabilities can leave those who are not themselves disabled  unsure, some in the disabled community disagree strongly and yes for LG people like me there are other usually unseen factors. Hardly surprising then some take the line of least resistance and say nothing and yet others are at the "Does he take sugar "stage talking straight to the nearest adult near the disabled person completely ignoring them.
A few general pointers:
Talk straight to the person not being afraid to ask how they are. The time to be talking to another is when it is clear the other person isn't understanding you.Offer to write a note of the any main points if it's something the person may need to do.
A person in a wheelchair is a wheelchair user. It's how they get about like you may use your legs and so aren't 'confined'  or 'bound' to it. The limitations in getting about happen generally through the actions of non-disabled people through the barriers they without thinking put up such as making it difficult to enter a building by putting in stairs or using very narrow aisle, not fitting loop hearing systems for the deaf or making prevision for a person to help those with limited sight and so on or even attitudinal ones like thinking nobody disabled comes so why bother considering their needs (maybe that's why they don't!)?
Of course disabled people aren't angels but as you're not, you already know that as they're just like you really!

How much to do for someone or what can I assume?
So-called health professionals, carers and disabled people argue all day about this but I'd sidestep the coffee at the conference chat and just ask if there's anything they'd like some help with (Don't say "Are you alright" cos most feel so uncomfortable about not been seen to cope that they'll say yes even when they do need help).
Assumptions? dangerous game between "Don't patronize me, I'm an adult" from a wheelchair user with an IQ around 100+ and those who for developmental reasons may look all of 50 but are very much like much younger children and as such are extremely vulnerable.
Personally I'd ask for things like ability carrying hot liquids, meals etc accepting a decline unless I know the person well enough not to leaving most other things to them but say for "this activity everybody will be reading or writing-is there anything with this you'd like some help with" because somethings like difficulty in reading aren't obvious and may be unrelated to a physical disability.

LG's and disability ettiquette.
This isn't something you'll find discussed at some 'respectable' conference as most of us who are involved around 'age play' communities have a better take on the link between chronological age and differing mind ages -that we have often two one 'adult' and one younger and oscillate between the two than most including the learned professionals.

My own take on it is it's reasonable to say when it comes to how to deal with illness or injury, the person is feeling it at their child like age and for a few possibly that developmental level too. The absolutes are you cannot breach legal rights over-riding them as developmental issues such as ability to understand a situation are covered thru exemptions under Mental Heath, so you can't take them against their will to a hospital cos' 'they're only a child really' unless it fits under the exemptions. This is because the groan ups use chronological age as the basis for your legal rights.
For 'unwell' childlike works - They're poorly, it's a good idea to remind about what they can do to help manage it, do offer sympathy (back to grazed knees) and so on.

What works for me (the 101 of managing me in RL or online)
Background: My hands got injured at work 16 years ago and they become inflamed at the tendons very easily that results in an inability to use them.  I seldom write with a pen.
I'm unsteady on my feet, have cerebal palsy and dyslexia effecting math, reading,spelling and short-term memory.
This side of me is 'at 12'.
What keeps me going when I'm poorly is my spirit - my LG spirit to be exact - so it's one of the most important things you need to keep up.
It's appropriate to suggest I rest even on occasions insisting I do because it's the child like sense of missing out that can keep me from resting. Something like "Please be a good girl, switch off your computer and rest if you're poorly" is fine.  I won't snap at you. Honest!
Nobody should feel bad for adding the suggestion I change if not already into my LG attire when resting because it will 'turn on' the LG spirit more in me, it helps a lot and I NEED to get better.
There's a difference between what is known at the intellectual level and what is felt building up in to your heart and spirit - the engine that keeps you going emotionally.
In real life hugs work wonders as do laps. Online it's harder but you can express 'hugs' and affirm the power of my LG Spirit to keep me going which oddly enough helps if I'm feeling down. The trouble with down is it has a downward spiral and it helps to talk me back up the top.
You may need to talk me round to see a doctor cos I get scared of different places and can't remember names well and that can put a block on me thinking about it.

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