There are many reasons decided to start this blog but one of my most important agendas when blogging is sharing my views with a larger community of disabled individuals and anyone whose life has been altered by a disability. The disabled community in and of itself is a very powerful thing and I am proud to be a part of it. As someone who has lived with a disability all my life I can say wholeheartedly that the sense of community and support I have always felt from other disabled people has become a very key part of how I carry myself in everyday life.
As someone who is now in the very interesting position of living with a disability and working at in a field that serves disabled people, I have sometimes heard others make statements about large groups of disabled people out together being intimidating to others around them. Those people argue that creating that discomfort is counter-productive to community integration and should be generally avoided.
That is a gross over simplification and it drives me crazy. I can absolutely agree that we shouldn’t drag people in large groups for the sake of simplicity(staffing, transportation etc.). However this idea of accommodating the comfort of the general really bothers me.
Everyday across the world people come together in the name of common interest and bond over shared experiences. Nobody bats an eyelash when those groups are comprised of car enthusiast or even cancer survivors, in fact we celebrate those groups. Yet if I want to assemble a group of friends who all happen to be disabled that is somehow intimidating? I flat out refuse to accept that.
I spend my time with people that I find interesting and we go where choose, Everyone on the planet has that right.
I will work incredibly hard from this moment forward to cultivate a vibrant community of creative people with disabilities here at Project Speak. Together we will show the world that our common experience is valuable and positive. Having a disability is not a positive experience but it does make us part of a thriving community that deserves respect discouragement.