Hearing Elmo would like to once again welcome Ruth Fox as guest writer this week. Ruth is a passionate disability advocate and also a photographer! I have enjoyed getting to know her even better through her nature photographs. Recently, Ruth reached out to me to give me some much needed information on mobility issues. If you would like to communicate with Ruth you can look her up on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward your email to her. Ruth asks some important questions about access issues:
Who has a right to make our choices?
My husband and I are “young” seniors, who have dealt with multiple disabilities our entire lives. Some of these disabilities are becoming more visible as we age. Both of us have worked hard to reduce our challenges. This means that we have had to address our barriers regardless of what other people would like to see us do. We embrace the freedom that mobility and technology accommodations provides us. Some of our disabilities require alterations to daily living routines and traditional ways of eating.
We enjoy sharing information with other people, so the frequent question “why?” provides opportunity to talk, in general terms, about hearing loss, cochlear implants, Asperger’s syndrome, food sensitivities, and Mitochondrial Disease. However it isn’t always easy, because disabilities can be extremely variable. They fluctuate in response energy reserves, weather, degree of sensory stimulation, health, and mood and basically everything physical, mental and environmental. People tend to understand “total” easier than “partial”. Explaining hard of hearing, partially sighted, food sensitivity, weakness and discomfort is considerably more complicated than explaining deaf, blind, food allergies, paralysis or pain. The greater detail required to explain “why?” the more awkward and embarrassing it becomes.
Now the question: How do we make our choices for personal disability accommodation? Do we consider what works best for us, or do we deny what is best for us because of the comfort level of peers, coworkers, family members, acquaintances, professional service providers and society in general?
It is a work in process, but my husband and I have found what allows us to be comfortable and productive. It isn’t always easy, as we march to a different drummer, but we live life to its fullest.
Ruth Ilean Fox
Denise Portis, Hearing Elmo