Wednesday, 29 August 2018
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Finding Motivation - By Ability Online Blogger, Sarah Evans
I used to love when it was time to go back to school. I was one of those kids who got bored easily, even though I had fun at summer day camp. Even today, I really miss the excitement of going back to school in September.
I think one of the reasons that I loved going back to school is that it provided structure and challenge.
Working from home, sometimes it is difficult to structure my time. Even when I have things that I want or have to do, I sometimes feel like I only have myself to figure out how to get motivated and if I am on the right track with my work. But recently I reached out to a friend to discuss my frustrations. I realized that I am blessed to have people who support me and can hold me accountable.
I am also motivated by work that is intellectually stimulating. I realize that work can't be exciting all the time - that's not just the way it works. Growing up, I saw people who I considered to have exciting careers. They always seemed to be involved in so many exciting things. I wanted to have an exciting career like them. I don't know what this means or looks like for me. I have to take into account personal factors like my disability and energy level. Still, I have heard that people who are in my generation can expect to change careers a number of times, so I am hopeful about what opportunities I may have in the future. In the meantime, I try to enjoy what I am doing in the present.
Tuesday, 17 July 2018
I was blessed growing up. I was very close to my mother and always felt extremely loved and nurtured. This is not to say that I agree with all of the choices she made. One piece of advice that I would give to my mother and other people with disabilities is to not be too overprotective.
My mother encouraged me to try many new opportunities, but she over protected me when it came to issues and problems that were going on in our family. My sister, who is two years older than I am, was not overprotected in the same way that I was. It was about not telling me what was going on. I am sure my mom had her reasons. She believed I had enough to worry about related to my disability. She thought I would obsess about issues - yes, I tend to do this quite a bit.
But I believe this experience left me ill prepared to deal with challenges in my later life. I had unrealistic expectations in relationships and in life in general. I believed that I could magically make everything wonderful and great and problems would never come. But, of course, they did come. And because I had no coping skills, I would get really upset and be unable to control myself. I struggled with serious mental heath challenges for a number of years. I am not saying that the only reason for this was that I was overprotected as a child, but I do believe it was a factor.
Disclosing anything to kids or letting them try new things requires wisdom and knowing the individual. But a lot of people mistakenly believe that kids with disabilities need to be protected physically or emotionally from the world around them because they have their own problems to deal with. But kids with disabilities turn into adults and, just like other kids, need to be as prepared as possible to deal with the world around them.
Friday, 22 June 2018
Last weekend was the annual People in Motion show in Toronto. This large exhibition for people with disabilities was held at a new venue this year, Variety Village, a sports and life skills facility.
Overall, I liked the change of venue. The displays in the main area were a bit closer together but there was still plenty of room to move around and everything was easy to get to.
Volunteering at the Ability Online display, I met a lot of people, including a few people who said they were members at the beginning of Ability Online. This year, we shared our booth with Pathways for All, a private advocacy business to support children with disabilities in the school system. We spoke to a number of family members of individuals with disabilities who were struggling to receive the services they need and I hope we were at least able to offer them some tips.
Personally, I am always looking for social and recreational opportunities and I did find a few. One therapist is organizing social events for youth with disabilities. Although I am too old for these, maybe there is some way that I can help or help to get something else started. Another display that I was inspired by is ParaSport Ontario. Earlier this year I started playing tennis and would consider trying another sport.
Friday, 8 June 2018
Lately I have been hearing a lot about cities thinking about banning plastic straws. The reasons they want to do this are commendable: plastic straws are bad for the environment because they don't easily decompose. As well, this issue heated up because of an online video that went viral of researchers pulling a plastic straw out of the nostril of a turtle.
But for people with disabilities like myself, plastic straws are as essential as the cup itself. I have used straws for as long as I can remember and I know that I am not the only one. On Facebook, I have seen the posts of friends with disabilities who need to use straws and are concerned.
My family and friends have bought me those plastic cups with a large reusable straw. Unfortunately, I find that it is difficult for me to get my lips around these big straws. Also, one time I accidentally bit off part of the plastic, which scared me.
While I am all for being environmentally friendly and helping animals, I question whether a complete ban on straws is the way to go. I think that educating people about the issues and concerns is the right thing to do, but ultimately I think that it should be left up to the person whether or not they want to use a plastic straw.
Monday, 28 May 2018
A few years ago, I was out in my community when I came across a group of Christian evangelists. As soon as they saw that I was in a wheelchair, they immediately said something to the effect of, "We'll pray for God to heal you." Unfortunately, this kind of experience is not unique (I have heard other people with disabilities tell me of similar experiences). It was not their faith that turned me off. I have been a Christian my whole life. But like many other people, whether or not they have a faith or spirituality, these individuals assumed as soon as they saw me that my greatest need to make my life better was the ability to walk (or getting rid of my disability altogether).
Many people with disabilities and their families are part of religious, faith and spiritual communities. Although often well-meaning, a lack of education about disabilities can create barriers in these communities.
Attitude is one such barrier, like the individuals I met on the street. They noticed my disability and my wheelchair before they noticed me. Some people believe that any type of disability or illness is a punishment from God for something that the individual or a close relative did. Instead of being received with one of these harmful attitudes, people with disabilities and their families have to be seen as people first with unique gifts and needs. We can't tell just by looking at a person what they need.
Another type of barrier is physical. I was quite fortunate because the churches that I have attended have mostly been physically accessible, but sometimes smaller groups within the church are hosted in people's homes which are not accessible and transportation to and from people's houses can be challenging when the bus may drop you off very early or pick you up really late.
Recently, I saw presentations about theology and disability. It is encouraging to know that other people are thinking about this important issue and I hope that this will be the beginning of a larger discussion that will make such communities more inclusive for people with all abilities.
Thursday, 24 May 2018
The Be inclusive Movement and Inclusion.
For people that haven't heard it is #beinclusive awareness day on June 1st where people are encouraged to wear blue shirts for inclusion of everyone. No matter your skin color, your gender or who you love and if you have a disability or not, this movement is for the purpose of raising awareness in society about not excluding anyone and to stomp out bullying forever.
Being excluded even by adults is another form of bullying.
This movement came about when Lynda Honing and her daughter, Isabelle was slighted when she said hi. So her mom Lynda came up with an idea to start this new movement. Her hope is for it to spread around the world.
I love this new movement because it’s positive and very Inspiring and uplifting, especially for those of all abilities. No one should be excluded in society today.
Way to go Lynda and Isabelle for starting this movement.
In Kamloops BC Canada, there is a Funfest run by a day program called Options & Opportunities. Funfest happens every year but this year will be extra special because of this movement. There will be lunch that costs 5 dollars, and the Lunch is a pizza slice, a snack and a pop or juice. But most things are free. It’s open to the whole community and is held at a park. I will wear a blue shirt on that day, June 1st. I will also have a booth and play a game about what inclusion means.
Remember June 1st is #beinclusive Awareness day. Please wear blue to show your support that all should be included. For more info go to: