Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A Missed Opportunity? by Sarah Evans

The other day I encountered an interesting situation. I was at the aquarium in Toronto with a friend. It was during the day, and so there were a lot of kids with their school groups there. At one point, I was up against a display in my electric wheelchair and a little girl was in front of me. She put her arm on the foot rest of my chair, leaning against it.

I didn’t know whether or not I should have said something. I didn’t really mind her doing it. At the time, I wondered if her teacher might say something to her. Thinking about it after, I realized that it was my responsibility, not the teacher’s, to speak up and say how I felt.

This also raises another question in my mind. Is it just about me? I am not sure. Even though I didn’t mind, maybe I could have used this opportunity to educate this girl about people with disabilities and teach her that the equipment that we use is an extension of ourselves and that our personal space needs to be respected. Not that I would make a big deal of it, but maybe politely asking her to remove her arm could have gone a long way in educating her. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sarah. I agree that you may have missed an opportunity, but not the one you think. Your story made me wonder if perhaps the child had an intellectual disability that prevented her from understanding social boundaries. Is it possible that the child was not actually being unruly, but was living with a disability that left her socially challenged? That might be why the teacher said nothing. They don't always know what to do, although they should. Just a thought.