Thursday, October 22, 2009


Wheelchairs are sorted, Friday the new chair comes, enough of that topic.

Modern technology has eased my problem with mobility. Having a computer at home that allows me access to my office makes it such that I could be sitting at work. I miss the interaction with others, I miss the ebb and flow of people, I miss, really miss, the snack cart. But I've been able to focus on some things that need doing.

I remember working on the radio documentary Life, Death and Disability for CBC radio. Many people with disabilities I spoke to mentioned how the computers have radically changed the world for people with disabilities. How people with limited mobility can make contact with each other, establish community, earn a living, because the internet makes such miracles possible.

At the time I was years away from experiencing disability from a personal perspective. I found these comments interesting but didn't really 'get' it. I do now. I am less 'disabled' by lack of mobility than I would have been years ago. I am a better employee because of technology. I am able to fulfil my purpose and my boss's expectations at the same time. All because of a really advanced typewriter.

As time marches on, as technology and design catch up to human needs, disability becomes less and less relevant. I watched a man with a disability go, unaided, into a store, pull up to a clerk, catch her eye (which wasn't difficult), and then push a button on a machine. A voice spoke, 'Hello, I wonder if you could help me find the new DVD by Madonna?' The clerk, fascinated by the machine and the voice, started chatting with him as they walked through the aisle asking him questions about the machine, he'd have to stop and push buttons. It was obvious he'd pre-programmed some answers. It was amazing. Suddenly he was simply a customer. Like one of those cool videos where one thing morphs into another ... only he simply morphed from what she first saw to what he actually was. Very cool.

For those of you who fear one day living with a disability, let me tell you that it doesn't mean what it did only a few years ago. Lack of mobility, for me this week has been an inconvienience not a disability. How cool is that?

I'd like to, here, formally thank Vita for being and employer that honours the needs of employees with disabilities and encourage other companies to realize that contributions by people with disabilities are possible with just a little creativity and a touch of compassion.


CJ said...

I have "met" so many nice people because of the internet.

Dave Hingsburger said...

FYI, the audio does not work on the link to the CBC. It just has a description of the programme.

Kristin said...

I am continually amazed at everything technology makes possible. I have friends who live on the other side of the world...people I may never be lucky enough to meet.