A new report from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health looks at how far countries have come — and have far they still have to go with regards to the rights of disabled people. After a new transit system in Guatemala city was built with no ramp access whatsoever, where the city was sued and the case was won by the activists, disability rights around the world have been in the center of the public eye. Although a good thing for disability rights, there is still a long way to go before disabled people are treated equally internationally. An analysis of international human rights treaties by UCLA sought to document equality development and how far they are from their goal. "Persons with disabilities are one of the last groups whose equal rights have been recognized', says Dr. Jody Heymann, dean of the school of public health. But to what extent are disabled rights implemented around the world? This study were to find out. The study breaks rights into 3 different categories, education, employment and health care. The goal for education would be for a nation to guarantee the right to education at all levels for disabled people. This however, is only occurrent in 28% of the 193 countries looked at. Although this looks bad, many countries are striving for equality. Countries like Peru, Mexico and Sri lanka are all gradually implementing ways of mainstreaming disabilities and destroying stigmas surrounding them. For employment, the target would be for countries to ensure the right of a person with a disability to work in any job, although obviously, some jobs are not possible for a person with a certain disability to do. Astoundingly, only 18% of countries surveyed had such constitutional rights. According to the study, internationally, there are nearly half a billion working age men and women with some type of physical or mental disability. There is quota in countries such as Japan, Montenegro and Peru, that obligates a company or organisation to employ a specific amount of disabled people per capita. Some companies although, attempt to bypass such laws and create loopholes. This could include classifying someone with glasses as disabled or who suffer from frequent migraines. In terms of employment, many countries still are far from being a place where disabled people feel equal within their community. And finally in terms of healthcare, the objective of a push for Health rights would be to give disabled people the right to the highest possibles standard. Once again, a mere 26% of countries studied provided this as a constitutional right. Countries including Peru and Armenia offer time extra maternity leave if the child has been clinically diagnosed with a disability. The U.N.plays a big role in health care, even for more developed countries. The U.N. healthcare treaty paved the way for a Canada, a first world country, to develop interpretive services for the deaf. Whether it is education, employment, healthcare, or any other inherent right of humans, it is clear that disability rights have just not caught up. Many developing countries such as Mongolia and Georgia, still lack basic rights for disabled people, which are necessities for any modern and progressive country. Evidently, much of the world still has a long way to go.
'My son's autism is real' is blog entry by Ian Rose for SBS Life and Health. The entry details the feelings of a parent, who's son has autism spectrum disorder. The text starts of with an anecdote, eventually leading to the confession of there sons diagnosis of autism. In the anecdote, the writer asks himself what his friend Terry would think if he saw them attempting to control their sun midst a fit. He says how his son would be red faced, body taut and reading to throw something at him. He is explaining the often embarrassing nature that autistic children can present in public and at home. Autistic children are stereotyped to have massive outbursts of anger and rage at random moments. This may be somewhat common but is not a symptom for autism. He goes on to say that his reaction to this is to hug him quickly. This illustrates the problem of lack of knowledge about autism that some parents have. More than often, autistic children that break out, kick and scream, are being mismanaged by their parents, rather than being wild and uncontrollable. The more one reads, the more one picks up on the dreary tone of the writer. Ian proceeds to attempt to normalize his son's disorder and behavior. He begins by explaining his sons fixations. Things like ceiling-fans, scarecrows, fire hydrants and spiders. The writing style and use of specific diction give the impression that the father is very much fatigued and bored of his sons behavior. Although this may seem rude and ignorant at first glance, one should empathize with Ian and truly try to understand what it must be like to look after a child who depends on it. After mentioning some of these traits, he concludes the topic with Urggh, indeed'. This further illustrates his growing exhaustion due to the constant demands when after an autistic child. The normalization of his son is referenced when he says, "But then what seven year-old boy doesn't have his little fixations". Normalizing, however well-intended, can be dangerous as it confuses the child into believing his/her behavior is allowed and accepted in society. This can be detrimental to developing children around the age of 3-7 (the most common diagnosis ages for autism) as it becomes deeply rooted in their mind. Ian is the parent of an autistic child. His son's behavior is clearly taking a tole on him, which becomes more obvious the further into the blog you read.
"We're overwhelmed, exhausted, listless, lonely and sick - it's time we admitted it". This was said my Madeleine Ryan, a person who has (prior to writing this blog) been diagnosed with autism, alexithymia, anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder, eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania and as being overly sensitive and analytical. Obviously, this must be a hard realization for someone who doesn’t really see themselves as disabled. In an article for SBS Life and Health, Madeleine addresses the surge in diagnosis of mental diseases within the last 20 years. She says, "It took me years to come to terms with all the conditions vie been told I possess". This is most likely due to negative connotations and preconceptions that surround disabilities and disorders. For example, most people when talking about someone with an eating disorder, would picture a very skinny female with zero-none body fat, but eating disorders can work both ways. Eating disorders can be seen in obese and morbidly obese people. They suffer from the same psychological disorder that is characterized by abnormal eating habits that people with anorexia do. This could be classified as a 'negative connotation', as people might see all overweight people as lazy and love to stuff their face, however there is a clinical diagnosis for some. She learnt to accept her disability by being open about them and their meanings. She learnt about her limitations and how to share her needs and feelings. She also pointed out the stigma of disabled people being incapacitated, injured or damaged. She noticed that although disabled people and her especially where classified as flawed, when she looked around at other people’s daily activities, she saw no sign of functionality. She believes that people in the modern world are working too long and hard, basing their actions on the belief that they can in fact manage such a busy lifestyle. She is right. People assume they can deal with full workloads. Although this allows one to immerse themselves in their jobs, it preoccupies them to the extent to which they neglect their bodies, health, family, communities or planet. And after such strenuous and fixating work, people have built up stress and anxiousness and need to release these feelings somehow. Some binge drink, do drugs, smoke, watch porn, online shop and speed in their car. But some do none of these. It may be in fact that the people who have been diagnosed with anxiety and stress disorders are not the victim of a chronic malady, but rather people who have subjected themselves to the unanimous lifestyle of the modern, working man. Madeleine Ryan, who has lived her life feelings like an outsider to society, has written an inspirational and absorbing blog about disabled people. She comment on their usefulness in the world today and the over-diagnosis of mental disorders which can be resolved using other methods than drugs.
Published January 11 2017, "Kids describe color to a blind person" is a video made by a media group called 'Cut' giving some young kids the chance to explain and describe what a color is and what it looks like, to a man that has been blind his entire life. Mack has been blind since birth, and states that he has "never seen anything, ever". The children (being children) follow to answer and ask a series of questions to and from Mack. As they are young, some can not fully comprehend what it means to be blind. This is illustrated as one of the children asks, "how blind are you". A common trend within the video emerges, that the children and mankind in general, cannot describe a color. Color is not a tangible, yet is real and can be perceived in real time. None of the kids can really put forward an accurate explanation of color, thus giving them a chance to ponder and immerse themselves in helping Mack to understand what they are seeing. Another topic that emerged throughout the video is the relation between objects, sounds and character types. The children cannot properly explain/describe colors, but do not hesitate when asked what they sound or smell like. As we know, colors do not have a sound or smell, but the creating of a link between the two does prove to better the meaning and feel behind them. For example, one of the children says, "Red is like fire and madness". Although simple, this analogy can help physicalize the conceptual meaning and emotion behind colors. After all, colors play a rather large role in the lives of people with sight. People who suffer from complete vision loss are often not empathized with as it is hard to comprehend what it is like to see complete darkness, yet using children to explain color to a man who has never seen it, provides for an entertaining and more importantly thought provoking 5 minutes.
"Society doesn't correlate disability with being attractive". This quote came from a women who has enjoyed her life, notwithstanding she has spent most of it in a wheelchair. This video, titled "Disability | how you see me", stars 6 people who have lived almost all of their lives in a chair with wheels. There is a very strong message in the video that no two people with disabilities are identical. While watching the video, you very soon get the idea that they are all in wheelchairs for different reasons. Some where born with diseases like Spina Bifida which stops proper spine development, and other have become paralyzed due to accident. This re-instates the fact that people with disabilities are not all the same and can be due to a wide range of events and occurrences. One of the men who suffers from a mental disability as well, explains how he uses comedic relief as a tool when he meets new people who might be flustered, nervous or confused by him and his disabilities. As humor is a method of relating, comedic relief and jokes can break down preconceived notions and allow for more direct and engaging conversations and understandings. One of the women makes a good point, in saying that "Society doesn't correlate disability and being attractive", as i mentioned at the start. This is a fundamental and communal flaw within much of the modern world. Although these prejudices are gradually being degraded, it is still a large issue that can be harmful to disabled people. If a person with a disability, of any form, starts to believe these conventions, they are contributing to their own internalized oppression. In summation, the video titled "Disability | how you see me", is a short but powerful presentation in which 6 people who have been disabled most of their lives, share their thoughts on discrepancies between disabled people and the disabled community and the rest of the world. The video is moving in every sense of the word.
From presuming your lack of sight means you have other superhero powers (a la Daredevil), to receiving an instant apology when people have dared to say "see you later", there are common misconceptions and phrases that one shouldn't say to people with no sight. Although blind people are often stereotyped as sun-glass wearing, pole waving and dog guided, blind people are (as shown in this video) indistinguishable from your average person. The people in this video did not have disorientated eyes, and seemed perfectly fine. straight off the bat, our visual perceptions and stereotypes are challenged, giving the viewer a much more intriguing viewing experience from the very get go. The questions given to them are the everyday questions a blind person might encounter that should not be asked, as they may cause feelings of insult and annoyance in blind people. many of the questions one may find no problems with, but when explained by the person the initial question is aimed towards, the unintended repercussions are made more obvious. There is a misconception amongst people with normal vision, that people who are 'legally blind' cannot see a single thing, and that all they see is black or white. I also believed this untrue assumption, but as the participants explained, people who are pronounced legally blind, cannot see to the point that their vision is not of any real substance or usefulness. This however, does not mean blind people see nothing. The woman states that many people who are called blind, do in fact see outlines, shapes and notice changes in light, such as shadows. To summarize, this video explores the dos and don'ts when addressing and engaging with a person who is legally blind.