A magnifying glass over the words "Frequently asked Questions".

Society Through The Lens Of Disability

I am a disabled person, and I use that term deliberately in this context, as it refers to the social model of disability, which basically suggests that it is society that disables people through its attitudes, actions, and assumptions. In other words, how we as a society are organised, acknowledge, and thereby create disability, rather than actually valuing, leveraging, respecting, and encouraging people’s differences and diversity. This is how society is seen through the lens of disability. In light of this, I am finding the new television show, The Good Doctor, which premiered tonight, personally confronting. It is about Shaun Murphy, a young surgeon with autism and Savant syndrome, who is recruited into the surgical unit of a prestigious hospital, and the battles he faces. I know that kind of isolation. I know that kind of discrimination. I know what it is not to be taken seriously based on the ignorance or arrogance of others. I know what it is to […]

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Image of a clean set of dishes ready to eat from.

Advocacy Is Like Doing The Dishes

For me, advocacy is not a choice. It is a chore. Rather like doing the dishes. If I don’t tend to them, then how do they become clean and ready for their intended purpose. Sure, I can leave them for a meal, but what happens when I run out? I can switch to paper plates as an alternative, thus ignoring the problem a little longer. However, that isn’t sustainable or practical. So what happens when I inevitably run out of those? Then what? I eat off the floor? My point is, that if I don’t advocate, or do the dishes, things can get a little crazy, and I have no one to blame but myself if I am unhappy with the outcome. For if only I had taken care of the details of life in the first place, or at least tried to contribute to preventing the situation from getting out of hand, I would have saved myself some present or […]

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Image of a girl exercising on a yoga mat.

An Exercise Mat For One

When it comes to exercise, in my experience some activities are more blind or low vision friendly than others. This is often for no other reason than they don’t involve other people. Let’s face it, other people add complexities to the equation. For example, it’s not as though I can spontaneously turn up to a run, exercise class, or an event. Oh no, it’s not that simple. There’s most likely people there I’ve never met. It doesn’t matter how comfortable I am with the run, class or event. I still have to overcome other people’s unconscious bias, anxieties, experience, and ignorance. And we haven’t even said hello, let alone laced up our shoes. So even when I do want to participate, often I don’t. This is because I have to go through the rigor of having to advocate, organise, educate, reassure, and sometimes even ask for permission. I then have to accommodate people’s intentions, fears, and curiosities. It really saps all […]

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A low vision mother with her toddler attempt to cross a busy road with no zebra crossing to access a park.

Social Equity Is No Trip To The Park

Social equity is more than a theory. Exclusion comes in many forms: an interactive shopping centre map, a multi service lift access point, a self service appointment check-in desk. What do they all have in common you ask? Well, apart from usually being flat and indistinguishable touch screen devices of course, most of the time they do not have a text to speech provision built in, let alone activated for people who are blind or have low vision to utilise. Therefore, they decrease our sense of social equity just a little more with each encounter. However, it isn’t just the prevalence of technology as a wayfinding tool that invalidates my very presence in society as I attempt to navigate the built environment. In this case, it is the lack of a simple zebra crossing at a very busy intersection on the way to our local park. A park that has recently been upgraded, complete with full fencing, well thought out skill […]

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Image of a single cloud in a vast blue sky.

Blue Sky

The sky shimmers with a life-affirming blue that penetrates my soul to the core. I cannot stop looking at it with a mix of disbelief and awe. Who put that there, I ask the expanse, fully expecting it to answer. However, it says nothing. It simply watches me. An entity of endless patience and relentless stillness, neither moved nor unmoved by my discovery of its presence. I wonder how long it’s been standing there. Hello, I want to shout at it. Hello up there, can you see me? Here I am, and there you are, isn’t this amazing? I want to jump up and touch it to make sure it’s real, but my jumping and reaching doesn’t seem to get me any closer to its big, blue belly. I climb up on the outdoor table in a bid to hold it in my hands, but the blue eludes me. How is it that I can see it but cannot drag it […]

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