This is the best article I've seen yet on invisible disabilities. It's titled "'But You Look So Good!' and 7 Other Things NOT to Say to a Person With a Non-Visible Disability" and it's from "DiversityInc Magazine: Diversity and the Bottom Line". Imagine that. Something good from the bowels of corporate America. Forgive my attitude. It'll probably get better a few more years down the road from my experience with that government job where they threw me away because I had one disability too many. Government, corporate, they're all the same, right? OK, back to the good--
The kicker is the last section. It took me a minute to get it, what the 5 second difference meant, and it's so true. Here's the last section:
This Means You
If you think this won't be a concern until old age, take note: 75 percent of people with chronic conditions are younger than 65.
One of the biggest obstacles in the disability community is the attitude of the temporarily able-bodied. When Lawrence Carter-Long, director of advocacy for the Disabilities Network of New York City, gives lectures to college students, he asks, "What is the difference between a person with disability and a person without?" After getting the usual answers—having a wheelchair, using a cane or a hearing aid—Carter-Long reveals the real answer: "About five seconds."
"Most of the problems regarding access have more to do with proximity than with malice. If it's not you, it could be your brother coming back from Iraq, it could be your aging parents, it could be your niece being born with a disability," he says.
Carter-Long and other disability-rights advocates urge action by those who think "it's not going to happen to me" so that when disability does affect you, access to basic needs—such as housing, employment, healthcare, assistance—won't be a problem.
Byzek says, "The greatest gift the independent-living and disability-rights movements can give our society is the freedom to just be people. We've created a society that wants people to adjust to systems. This is backwards. SYSTEMS should adjust to PEOPLE. We come along with our limps, our canes, our wheelchairs, our dodgy eyesight, our brilliant minds wrapped in fatigued bodies and say, 'Hey, can you just wiggle this rule?' and are becoming adept at pointing out how this is actually civil rights."
She continues, "We have the right, as citizens, to participate fully in our own society. What would happen if everybody had the ability to wiggle their environment, our systems, to make their lives easier? We'd be a happier, more relaxed society. We'd have fewer stress diseases, we'd live longer, we'd be more productive."
If you're on the DiversityInc website long enough they will demand your email address before allowing you to continue looking for free... hope they don't do anything evil with my address. The article was so good I decided to take a chance on them...