Thanksgiving: A Disability Perspective

 

 

audio version (opens in a new tab)

 

 

2020 has definitely been an unusual year. It has made me more thankful for things which I previously took for granted. This week is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. In this article, I will reflect on several things which I am thankful for from a disability perspective.

 

One thing I am thankful for is the ability to communicate. Although I am blind, my other senses are available to me. I can hear what others have to say, providing verbal or written responses. It is worth noting that people with different disabilities may communicate in different ways. For example, I found this

video: “Non-verbal girl with Autism speaks through her computer”.

As the video makes clear, typing gives the young girl a voice. She can express her thoughts and feelings. In contrast, this

video: “Dialogue with the Deaf in Health Care”

makes clear that someone who is deaf may need a face-to-face translator. As a final communication example demonstrating communication needs of people with various disabilities, I share the

video: “Program Helps Deaf-blind Access Technology”.

The video focuses on

ICanConnect,

a national program which provides specialized assistive technology so that Americans who are Deaf-Blind can communicate with the world. Ultimately, communication is possible if each person finds a way which works for them individually. I am also thankful for the ability to learn.

 

It is a simple fact that no-one knows everything. Different people learn in different ways, whether due to a disability or learning style. As a person who is blind, I learn best through listening and written information. Those are the learning styles which work for me. Whatever methods you use to learn, I encourage readers to educate themselves. There are a number of learning opportunities online. One example is

“ADA Audio Conference Series”.

This resource is provided by the Great Lakes ADA Center in Illinois. In addition to a

schedule of upcoming sessions,

there is also an

archive

of past sessions. You will also find on the ADA Audio home page links for specific topics such as

“ADA Legal”,

“Self Paced”

and

“Accessible Technology”.

I consider the Great Lakes ADA Center to be a valuable learning resource because they have so many sessions available. Another learning opportunity is the variety of

online courses from the Southeast ADA Center.

These courses are self-paced, with registration required for each one. Participants complete the courses on their schedule. At time of writing, I am in the middle of a course. The convenience of on-demand courses is I can work through them without needing to rush. I suggest checking out the variety of learning resources referenced above and search for other online training opportunities. A final thing I am thankful for is the ability to share knowledge with others.

 

I enjoy sharing disability-related information. In fact, it is a primary reason I have added to my blog more frequently during the past year. I’m thankful for the ability to share information because it might help someone else learn something or acquire a useful resource. I suggest that anyone reading this who has a Facebook account, is a person with a disability and has a blog check out

“The Federation of Disabled Bloggers”.

As the name implies, this group is for bloggers who have disabilities to share their blogs with others. Bottom line: I encourage everyone to communicate, learn and share!

 

Question for readers: What are you thankful for this year? I shall return with another article.

 

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