Recommended Reading for October 19, 2009

In the Blogs:

Them and Us

A lot of people have caught on that they need to provide access for the disabled when they build something, but apparently access is only needed for Them.

You know, Them. There’s Them, and then there’s Us. They might be disabled, but We aren’t, and never will be.

Accessible restroom? Oh, no, because the restroom is only for employees, and none of our employees is disabled (or ever will be).

Elevator to the second floor? Oh, no, because the public doesn’t need to go to the second floor, and nobody who works there is disabled (or ever will be).

Access to the stage? Oh, no. There’s access for the audience (Them), but the actors and singers and stagehands (Us) aren’t disabled (and never will be).

[This really resonates with me, especially after Campaign School this weekend. Although they did address issues of making accessible campaign literature and ensuring your office was accessible, everything was spoken of as though no one with a disability would be part of a campaign, either as a volunteer, employee, or candidate. Them, and Us.]

Marginalized folks shouldn’t always have to be “the bigger persons”

But, you know, it’s not just people of color who are constantly expected to show extraordinary compassion when faced with bias. It is women, gays, lesbians and the transgendered. It is the disabled, the obese, immigrants and the poor. Ask any marginalized person and it is a safe bet that they have been told “have a sense a humor,” “don’t be so PC,” “that’s just how so-and-so was raised,” “here’s a great teaching moment, “you have to understand some people won’t be comfortable with x, y, z,” “he didn’t really mean it.”

Via Unusual Music: College Mental Health: A Different Diagnosis:

Students interviewed for this story reported that mental health seems like a low priority on campus. Alexa at New York’s Westchester Community College notes, “Mental health seems to be something that people really keep to themselves.” She describes her community college’s scarce resources as consisting of one social worker and a two-by-three inch bulletin board in the upstairs of the student center. “I only realized it was there while waiting for three hours in the hallway to register for classes.”

Access to services — such as individual and group therapy, consultation and referrals, support groups, medication monitoring and crisis hotlines — varies from school to school. However, most college campuses would benefit from improvement and expansion of their mental health facilities and services. Students are generally granted a few free counseling sessions, but due to increasing financial restrictions, the number of sessions can be scant — as few as five visits per student.

At two of my previous universities, you were limited to less than 10 sessions over a year. I believe my current one has unlimited sessions, but you must call the office between 9:00 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. for a same-day appointment. There is no booking in advance.

In Our Own Words: Fighting for our DLA [UK] [Older post] [DLA = Disability Living Allowance]

DLA was established, after years of research, because the costs of living as a disabled person in a barrier-filled world organized by and for non-disabled people were considered to be so high. The estimated costs of disability that came out of this research were far, far higher than what is actually now given to DLA claimants. It was also emphasised that DLA should not be means-tested, because the costs of disability are high whether a person is extremely poor or generally has enough to live on.

Also, FrolicNaked did three posts about NPR’s American health care discussion. Post 1, Post 2, Post 3.

My new favourite website: Wave: Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool. How does your website measure up?

10 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for October 19, 2009

  1. Everyone, truly, go read Marginalized folks shouldn’t always have to be the ‘bigger persons’, because it is extremely good, and oh so very true. I’m a big believer in catching flies with honey, but there’s a place and a time for that kind of thing.
    .-= meloukhia´s last blog ..Bones: A Night at the Bones Museum =-.

  2. Also on the student mental health note, people need to think about intersectionality of disabilities when it comes to mental health.

    Requiring a telephone intake before scheduling an appointment when there’s no TTY number and no alternative means of communication such as a secure web chat? Sorry, but I really don’t want to have to get a relay operator involved in that; it’d just make it worse for everyone involved, including the relay operator.

  3. *nodnod* Totally true, Codeman, and it irritates me to no end. My university assures me that full accessibility is their top priority. By which they apparently mean “We don’t actually care unless someone throws a big fit about it.”

  4. The good news is that my university’s health center is holding a diversity panel this week to gather information from various minorities– including people with disabilities. Yeah, I’m bringing this and a few other related issues up. 🙂

  5. Loved the piece on mental health and colleges. My school has a pretty good counseling center, but housing is notoriously bad when it comes to any kind of mental health issues.

  6. Great post, this is one of my favourite topics and close to my heart.LOL.
    I love keeping up to date on everything new so i’ll definitely be bookmarking this site.
    Keep up the great work! 😉

  7. Oh, I did bring the phone-intake issue up with the counseling center here– and it turns out it was an honest omission. Their policy, as it turns out, is to allow someone who’s uncomfortable on or unable to use the phone to have the intake screening done in-person instead, but there was no mention of this policy at all in any of the publicly available material from the center. They’ll be correcting this in the near future.

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