"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Do. Not. Limit. Me.

Wow, what a great video! You tell them, Megan.



So what say you? Let's distribute this far and wide.

Share it on your social networks. Share it with your friends. Show it to your children.

But, most important of all ...

Do. Not. Limit.

Anyone.

H/T to Ashley's Mom at Pipecleaner Dreams

Cross-posted at Free Falling

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When Words Fail Me ...

This video speaks for itself.

But the saddest scariest thing is this woman is not alone. She may be the only one brave enough to actually type and deliver such a letter, but I can guarantee you she's not the only one who thinks such thoughts.




Perhaps most of those who do would never suggest that a child, any child, should be euthanized or his "non-retarded body parts" donated to science. But they wouldn't hesitate to express their belief that such children should not be going to their neighbourhood schools, should not be participating in the same extracuricular activities as their "normal" children do; perhaps, even should not be taking up scarce dollars in our healthcare system.

We would like to believe that human beings are inherently good. That, most of the time, if we just give them the chance, they will do the "right thing".  Maybe we're right - maybe most are.

But something like this has to make a parent wonder how many more monsters are hiding in the darkness or behind the annonimity of their keyboards. And shudder at the thought.

H/T to Krista Lettues for the video

Cross-posted at Free Falling

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Rest of the Story ...

I was very honoured to be asked to appear on the Global Morning News show yesterday (July 30, 2013). Many thanks to fellow advocate, Krista Lettues, and Rhonda Brown, executive producer of the Morning News show and a true friend to the disability community.



BUT.

Now why is there always a BUT??

I really wish we could have had more time to get into more detail on these issues. I really wish I had the chance to share the rest of the story.

You see, as part of my preparation for the interview, I went back and reread the original news article which led to this blawg post, which, of course, led to the interview.

But this time was different. This time, I also read the comments following the article. If you haven't read them, please go do so. It's okay, I will wait for you.

Now, if you're here reading this blawg, I am going to assume that there's a very good chance that you were as upset by some of those comments as I was. But after I calmed down a bit lot, it got me thinking. There will always be idiots out there. I know that and you know that.

But some people aren't *idiots* per se; I would say they are more "ignorant", in the true sense of the word.

ig·no·rant 

/ˈignərənt/
Adjective
  1. Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.
  2. Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular: "ignorant of astronomy".


Yes, ignorant as in simply not knowing. As one simple example, witness the comment of *myop*:
Animals should not be part of the welfare systems resopnsibility at all no matter what reason people have them other that assistance for the blind. 
Now here's a person who has obviously heard of service dogs for the blind. And only dogs for the blind. He or she remains blissfully unaware of all the other service animals out there - hearing dogs, dogs for persons with physical disabilities, dogs for persons with autism, seizure dogs ... I am sure the list goes on. But *myop* is blissfully unaware.

Here's another comment by *myop*:
IT SHOULD ONLY BE USED FOR THE BASIC NECESSITIES OF LIFE
Do you think he/she has any concept that what constitutes the basic necessities of life might vary between a person with no disabilities or chronic health conditions and those who live with these conditions? I guess not.

And you just can't beat the comments of *KannH*:
Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't Welfare created to help people get through bad times until they get back on their feet? When did Welfare become a career? I was on it once for 2 months between college and my first job starting but I have worked full time ever since. I am greatful it was available back then to help me but I would have never wanted to be on it long term...I had way more self respect.
Yes, dear, you are wrong. So consider yourself corrected.

For far too many people welfare is, indeed, a career. Not their chosen career but the only one our society leaves open to them. I would not choose for my daughter to be a social assistance recipient for the rest of her life. Nor would she choose this for herself. In fact, she desperately wants to have a job, live in her own place, be like everyone else her age. But that, quite simply, is just not in the cards. And yet, as hard as this might be to imagine, *KannH*, this doesn't mean she has any less self respect than you.

I could go on, of course, but snark only gets one so far.

So here's the point I really wanted to make.

After reading those comments, I got to wondering just what percentage of the social assistance caseload in Nova Scotia consisted of persons with disabilities. So I did some research and came up with some very interesting facts. In 1996 (the most recent year with available statistics), fully half of the welfare case load in Canada was made up of persons with disabilities. That's right - half of the case load. And in Nova Scotia, that figure was even higher - 57.5% of the people in receipt of social assistance in Nova Scotia had a disability.

It's funny how many people seem to have that visual of a single mom popping out baby after baby after baby to take advantage of the "generous" welfare funding or only see those in receipt of "welfare" as neglecting their children while watching their large screen TVs, doing and/or selling drugs and spending all their tax money on cigarettes. I suppose there are some people like that - there must be, considering that everybody seems to know at least one such person.

But how ironic, considering that over half of the people in receipt of social assistance in Nova Scotia are disabled. The majority are not, in fact, scamming the system. They aren't there to take advantage of the *generous* benefits, because they're too lazy or don't have enough self respect to get out of the system - they are there because they are simply trying to survive and are pretty much literally trapped.

I am thinking it is high time people got a good education in exactly who is receiving their hard-earned tax dollars and exactly who should be subject to mandatory illegal drug testing. Because the other ironic thing I find is that if you mention persons with disabilities to the majority of the people who make those kind of nasty comments, they immediately respond along the lines of "Oh, I am not talking about those people. Those people are okay. I am talking about the majority ...".

The majority you say?

So now you know the rest of the story. Now you know what I wished I had had the chance to say on the Global Morning News show.

Oh well, hopefully there will be a next time ...