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Reasonable Accommodations – Guest Post by Daisy The Groundskeeper

I’m hearing impaired, and I’m a teacher. And yes, I’ve encountered discrimination in my field. It’s not important to rehash the difficulties I’ve faced; it’s more important to remind people that disabled people are just that — people — and are not solely defined by their disabilities.

My teenage son, known on my blog as Amigo, is blind and has Asperger’s Syndrome. We’re quite a pair. When we go to a restaurant, I often read him the menu (if they don’t have one in Braille), and then he helps me place my order because I might not hear the server’s questions above the din of the dining room.

We have typical parent-child moments, too. He likes the TV loud. I keep saying, “Turn it down! If I can hear it clearly, so can you!” He tells me when a timer goes off or the dryer buzzes, just in case I’m not close enough to hear it. He doesn’t get the laundry out himself, darn it. I guess the teenager part trumps the helpful.

Sometimes he and I need small adaptations, “reasonable accommodations,” to achieve our goals. I need a phone that’s hearing aid compatible. I need students to speak up and speak clearly.  Amigo needs his white cane, his Braille reading materials, and screen-reader software for the computer. But hearing or sighted, if you were playing Trivial Pursuit, you’d want Amigo and me on your team. We’re good. Very good.

We say that our family should buy lottery tickets. Due to luck of the gene pool, we have a fair amount of uniqueness in our home. My son’s type of blindness occurs in 1 out of 33,000 births. My hearing impairment is somewhat more common, but still not mainstream enough to be considered part of the norm. Beat the odds? I guess we did. Well, sort of. Maybe.

But folks, most of all, we’re people. We’re good, capable, intelligent people. My disability is part of me. I am a good mother, a good teacher, an intelligent learner and pretty darn good blogger.  Amigo’s disabilities are part of him. He’s a delightful and multi-talented young man.

One thing is for sure: Don’t waste your time looking down on us — because it is a waste of your time, and ours.  We’d rather be watching Jeopardy or going out for lunch!

About The Author:

Daisy The Grounskeeper writes the blog Compost Happens, where she focuses on taking care of “Home, Garden, Family, and Coffee.” Please go say hi!

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Avil Beckford March 27, 2010, 7:02 am

    Daisy,

    It’s important that you spoke out. People need to recognize that you and your son are people with a disability and that you are not a disability. You have accomplished a lot and much more than some people who do not have a physical disability. I would want you on my team.

    Avil

    • Daisy March 27, 2010, 10:29 am

      We’ve come a long way since the days of institutionalizing disabled people, but there’s still a long way to go. Thanks for the comment!

  • Heather March 27, 2010, 7:25 am

    Breakout the board, babe! Let’s play us some TP sometime! Your son’s inability to fold laundry comes from the Teenage part. . . . He also sounds like a pretty cool kid! I’ve always known people with disabilities are people. I hate the buttheads who treat y’all like you’re majorly diseased. They suck! But you guys ROCK! Now about this game. . . .

    • Daisy March 27, 2010, 10:32 am

      He’s all teen, alright! But his high school has a great school climate; most students just say “Hey, it’s Amigo” and let it go at that. He has a near photographic memory; we totally enjoy watching Jeopardy together! If we could play as a team, we’d break Ken Jennings’ record.

  • Dan Cosgrove March 27, 2010, 8:38 am

    I learned in college never to underestimate anyone while hanging out with my best friend.

    He’s got only one arm, which is about a foot and a half long, and only has three fingers.

    He’s also a damned fine drummer.

    When he kicked my ass at a Tony Hawk video game, and then Grand Theft Auto, I figured he didn’t need my, or anyone’s, sympathy.

    • Daisy March 27, 2010, 10:28 am

      He sounds like an awesome guy!

      • Dan Cosgrove March 27, 2010, 11:30 am

        He is pretty awesome! I crashed on his couch after many a good party.

  • Daisy,

    I love this post, thanks for sharing your story with us.

    “it’s more important to remind people that disabled people are just that — people — and are not solely defined by their disabilities.”

    I think people forget that we all have our strengths and short comings, some are just more visible than others – we are all just people trying to do the best with what we are given.

    • Daisy March 27, 2010, 10:27 am

      Absolutely. Thanks for commenting!

  • Kylie March 27, 2010, 11:48 am

    Dan’s comment reminded me of a woman I know: She lost one of her arms as a kid, and now helps her husband run their farm, takes care of her kids and grandchildren, cooks three meals a day for her family and is pretty much on the go from the moment she wakes up in the morning until she falls into bed at night. She’s unstoppable.

    • Daisy March 27, 2010, 5:20 pm

      She sounds fabulous. I wonder if she’d give me gardening advice?

  • Pauline March 27, 2010, 8:15 pm

    Great post. Josh, thanks for giving Daisy the opportunity to post here. I’m Daisy’s mom, so I’m biased, but she’s telling the truth about herself and Amigo!

    • Daisy March 28, 2010, 10:24 am

      I can’t top this one. 🙂 She knows us too well!