----- Original Message ----- From: "Joe Plummer" <joeplummer@xxxxxxx>
To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:40 AMSubject: [tabi] FW: article,people with disabilities say equipment is part of their space
FYI, Sign, JP ( Joe Plummer) joeplummer@xxxxxxxThis 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 spaceA 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 theusual rules don't apply when the person to be touched had a disability. People in wheelchairsoften find themselves being patted on the head. Blind people suffer beinggrabbed 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 inappropriateto put your hands on a person with a disability. What's a little trickieris 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 sameway 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 morethan 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 careabout. A friend who uses a wheelchair once told me that he thought peoplewere 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, shewas 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@xxxxxxxxxxxxxCheck out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABIand 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.