Monday, February 16, 2015

More Like This, Please!

I found this first on a blog called Doing Wheelies, and later posted on Facebook by Emily Ladau of Words I Wheel By. It would be great to see more “infographics” like this dealing with other disability-related statistics. I’m pretty sure most people have almost no idea at all what the key numbers are regarding disabled people.
Historical Facts  1869 was the year when the first wheelchair patent was issued in the United States. In 1933 mechanical engineers Herbert Everest and Harry Jennings invented the first steel, lightweight, collapsible wheelchair. 1933-1945 United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used a wheelchair in everyday life. Top 5 Wheelchair Accessible Countries to Travel to:  Canada United States Australia United Kingdom New Zealand Top 5 Cities in the United States for Wheelchair Living:  Seattle, Washington Portland, Oregon Reno, Nevada Albuquerque, New Mexico Denver, Colorado Best Vacation Destinations for Wheelchair Users in the United States  The Skydeck in Downtown Chicago Silverstrand State Beach in Coronado, California The National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park Colorado Facts and Numbers  $2.9 Billion expected for the manual wheelchair market by 2018 $3.9 Billion expected for the power wheelchair market by 2018 There are an estimated 3.3 Million wheelchair users in the United States and the number is increasing every year The demand for wheelchairs is increasing due to the large need among the baby boomer generation 98% of public transit buses in the United States are equipped with wheelchair accessible ramps One out of every two taxi cabs in New York City will be wheelchair accessible The wheelchair industry revenue grew at an average annual rate of 2.5% from 2009 to 2014 There are about 2 Million new wheelchair users every year 1.825 million wheelchair users are the age 65 or older 17.4% of working-age wheelchair users have jobs 11.2% of adult wheelchair users have graduated from college, compared to 21.6% of the general adult population Sources:

Schools Of Thought

Word cloud around the word Ideas
It seems like one of the main differences within the disability community is over how disabled people actually interpret the importance of disability itself. They arent quite in conflict, but it often seems like there are two schools of thought about how to think about and above all explain disability to the wider society:

1. Disability doesn't matter.

Disability doesnt define me. Look past my disability and see the real me. I have a disability, but it doesnt have me. See my abilities, not my disabilities. Social acceptance and equal opportunities require people to see people, not their disabilities. We need to stop labeling people! People are people, and we all have some kind of disability. Disability is just one thing about me, like the color of my eyes or my aptitude for math.


2. Disability matters.

Disability is an important part of who I am. Disability isnt a bad thing anyway, so I don’t need you to see past it. It doesnt feel like a compliment when people say, I dont think of you as disabled. Other people inevitably define me by my disability, at least partly, so it would be foolish for me to pretend otherwise. Disability really does impose hardships, as does the social stigma that comes with it … that’s just a fact. Disability isn’t just an characteristic I can shed; it doesn’t define me, but it greatly influences who I am. I don’t have to convince you that disability is no problem at all for me to show that I’m competent and capable.

Which school of thought you prefer has a huge effect on how you approach just about every possible disability issue. These different approaches also seem to underlie just about every conversation we have about disability.

It’s kind of obvious, but worth repeating, that there’s truth in both approaches. But I really think it’s important to figure out which you tend to use.