Adaption And Accommodation: what people with disabilities want is simply what typical people expect - everyday. Sighted people expect lights in buildings. Walking people expect chairs to be provided for them. Hearing people expect others to hush when they are listening. Adaption and accommodation. Not only that, all these things are provided without even so much as a second thought. No one had a meeting to plan on how to handle a workforce of people who arrived - selfish demanding prats - at work with NO CHAIR and expected the company TO PAY for somewhere to park their asses. No one had to go to the human rights commission to demand that an employer install, AT GREAT EXPENSE, lights in hallways and offices. Nope, you expect it, you get it. It isn't an adaptation and an accommodation when it's for you, is it. It's simply society's gift to it's favoured child.
What leads to this little rant? Well, I went to a meeting yesterday and faced an obvious example of 'we'll do it for us we won't bother for you' discrimination. Snow had fallen over the weekend and of course sidewalks were covered in snow that needed to be removed. When we arrived for my meeting we discovered that the sidewalks had been completely shovelled free of snow for those coming from the parking lot to the building. This is an accommodation and was provided at some cost. However, the curb cut was covered in snow and slush and had obviously not been cleared. There was no way that we could get the wheelchair up and into the building.
Instead I had to get up and walk, on unsteady feet over uneven ground and icy patches holding desperately on to Joe's shoulder. My heart was in my throat as I carefully picked my way forward. I got into the building and was immediately distracted by the greeting and was in the meeting before I could think about what had happened. It wasn't until I was carefully picking my way down the curb cut towards the car that I realized I should have mentioned it upon arrival.
But, then, why is this my responsibility? Clearly the building management or building maintenance people were careful to make sure that snow and ice were removed from the pathways for walking people. Clearly the same people didn't think that the curb cut mattered. Clearly energy expended on those 'valued' was worth something and the energy necessary to make the building accessible was just TOO MUCH BOTHER.
People with disabilities are only demanding because resources to be allocated are already spoken for by those with larger voices and bigger feet. People with disabilities don't want special, we just want equal. Mostly, people with disabilities simply want to go about our days simply ... without muss or fuss or having to stop and ask, again, for what is given freely to others - adaption and accommodation.