[tabi] Re: FW: article,people with disabilities say equipment is part of their space

  • From: "Tinetta Cooper" <lilheart@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2011 08:51:45 -0500

----- Original Message ----- From: "Joe Plummer" <joeplummer@xxxxxxx>

To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:40 AM
Subject: [tabi] FW: article,people with disabilities say equipment is part of their space


FYI,

Sign,
JP ( Joe Plummer)
joeplummer@xxxxxxx




This came from the Seeingeye-l list; we have been discussing interference
with our dogs by the general public, especially people claiming to be
"animal rights activists."
Subject: article,people with disabilities say equipment is part of their
space


A friend sent this, and I thought some of you might find it interesting.
Rebecca and Eagle
   People with disabilities say equipment is part of their space
Monday, November 15, 2010  02:52 AM
By
Deborah Kendrick
To touch or not to touch is the question that was raised again recently
by a brochure
I received from a nonprofit organization representing people with
disabilities. "Avoid
.?.?. touching their wheelchair, scooter or cane," the document stated.
"People with
disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space."
The truth is that like everything else, there are degrees of
appropriateness within
the touching range - "good touch" and "bad touch" - and it's an issue
that warrants
exploration.
On one hand, there's a certain negative assumption at times that says the

usual rules
don't apply when the person to be touched had a disability. People in
wheelchairs
often find themselves being patted on the head. Blind people suffer being

grabbed
by complete strangers who want to "help" them across the street.
Most people with manners can figure that out - if you wouldn't pat or
grab a nondisabled
person in a given situation, chances are that in the same situation it's
also inappropriate
to put your hands on a person with a disability. What's a little trickier

is the
issue of mobility equipment.
Maybe this can be made clearer by trying to see equipment from the
perspective of
the person who uses it. If you haven't had any personal experience with
external
mobility devices - a wheelchair, scooter, guide dog, crutches - these
things can
look like awkward encumbrances. To the person with the disability,
however, they
are symbols of real liberation.
If you can't walk unaided, a wheelchair, rather than being a point of
confinement,
is a tool of liberation. If you can't stand for long periods, a scooter
or crutches
can bridge the gap between missing out and fitting in.
If you can't see obstacles of stairs in your line of travel, a guide dog
or lessons
with a white cane are often perceived as a new set of wings.
Many people with disabilities say that a piece of equipment is an
extension of themselves.
A wheelchair is not just a chair, it is that part of "the person" that
facilitates
movement. A crutch is not a bit of metal or wood, it is the part of "the
person"
that makes standing or walking possible. A guide dog is not just a pet,
but that
part of "the person" that makes independent travel a reality.
When you put a mobility device in the context of "extension of the
person," knowing
when to touch and when not to becomes easier. Would you straighten a
stranger's collar?
No? Then hands off the wheelchair. Would you fondle an acquaintance's
jacket? No?
Then hands off the dog.
Mind you, I'm talking about strangers or mere acquaintances here. As an
extension
of personal space, "good touch" of a person's mobility equipment is fine
whenever
it would also be appropriate to touch the person.
I often put my hand on a friend's wheelchair while chatting - in the same

way that
I might put my hand on another's arm. I do not, however, lean on their
chairs for
support, hang my coat off the back, or set my drink on their lap trays -
any more
than I would lean on or throw my junk on the lap of a nondisabled friend.
When friends greet my dog, it is another way of greeting me. When people
I barely
know or don't know at all stroke his head or make kissing noises at him,
it is a
violation of my personal space.
One more word on touching: Please don't let any of this discussion of
equipment and
personal space inhibit you from showing real physical warmth toward
people you care
about. A friend who uses a wheelchair once told me that he thought people

were more
reluctant to take his hand in friendship or hug him because of "all that
metal" surrounding
his body.
I remember a time when I met a woman who had been a longtime "friend" on
the phone.
When she realized, upon meeting me, that I couldn't make eye contact, she

was stunned
for a moment. Then, on impulse, she replaced the eye contact with a huge
hug.
It was a good decision.
Deborah Kendrick is a Cincinnati writer and advocate for people with
disabilities.
dkkendrick@xxxxxxxxxxxxx





Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI
and please make suggestions for new material.



if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.

Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI
and please make suggestions for new material.



if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by 
sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
"unsubscribe" in the subject.

Other related posts: