I read a very interesting article in the opinion section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times this past week. It posed the question where is our disability pride movement? Unlike other groups like women, gay, and African-American the author notes the disability movement has not gotten the same level of exposure.
She reasons it is because we have a clearer idea of what it means to be a woman, gay or African-American; but when it comes to being disabled maybe not. I agree with the author and as Joy Thomas alluded to in her post last week, there are things she wished people knew and understood about being visually impaired with a degenerative eye disease.
The author goes on to say that disability is everywhere once you pay attention and the numbers are growing. But even with that, the average person does not wake up “knowing how to be disabled.” This is also very true. Here at CVI we help those who have recently lost vision because it is not something you automatically know how to do. Vision rehabilitation classes such as braille, mobility and assistive technology have to be taught. There is a learning curve. Not only is there teaching of these new skills but even the communication and language has to be worked out too. Understanding that “I am visually impaired or blind now” is a hard pill to swallow for people. Then trying to communicate that concept to others can be overwhelming. Additionally, we can fail to see or read about positive images of blind and visually impaired people accomplishing great things in society and our minds can take on a negative viewpoint.
So, what do you think? Is there pride in being blind or visually impaired? After reading this post and the New York Times article what do you think?