Health and fitness professionals have opportunities to connect with people of all ages and abilities. I have been fortunate over the years to meet many instructors who are passionate about working with individuals with mixed abilities. However, this is still an untapped market in the industry, and I believe this is primarily because we have not adequately publicized the need for programs and created awareness through national organizations, seminars, social media, and professional networks.
Posts Tagged 'awareness'
I recently had the opportunity to watch half an episode of Glee, in which Artie, the student with paraplegia, used his Colours wheelchair to get around the halls of the high school. Since I wasn’t too interested in the actual story – I started to watch Artie and became quickly bothered by the push handles on the back of his chair. Why were Artie’s friends pushing him around in his chair? I also noticed that Artie’s chair seemed really big for his body and that he sits crooked in it. According to the show, Artie has been in his wheelchair since the age of 8 as the result of a car accident and for a person who has been in a chair for at least 8 years his skill set is not where it should be.
Multiple sclerosis is a difficult disease to be diagnosed with at a young age. You don’t know when it will take its full toll on you, if ever. I was diagnosed almost 3 years ago at the age of 22. Even till this day, not a lot of people know I have the disease. I have relapsing remitting, so I rarely show signs of the condition, and when I do have symptoms I try to keep them to myself and hide them the best that I can. It isn’t that I’m insecure of having the condition; it’s that I don’t want anyone to have pity on me or treat me any different than before.
Our words carry so much meaning – sometimes even meaning that we don’t fully understand. Often times, we say things or use phrases that we’ve heard others use before but don’t have a solid understanding of the meaning behind it or the bigger message that we are sending by saying it.
I recently came across a really interesting conversation in response to a blog post on http://persephonemagazine.com/. The title of the blog post was “A Day in the Life of a Fourteen Year Old Boy with Autism.” I had never read anything on this blog before, but the title of this post caught my attention. It is written by a woman who has a son with autism – and she takes on his persona – speaking and communicating thoughts as if she is him. While the post itself was interesting, what I found most interesting were the comments on the post. You can read them for yourself here at the end of the post.
It’s not uncommon that people ask me questions about disability. They know it’s what I spend the large majority of my time studying…so it only makes sense. But sometimes those conversations happen when I am least expecting it. Those unexpected conversations, though, always seem to be the best.
The current discourse, which caters to the support for the advancement toward a ‘cure,’ is a highly controversial topic within the disability rights community. Yet when the discussion towards finding a ‘cure’ arises more often than not very little tribute goes to activists with disabilities who speak against the need for a ‘cure’.