I am back in the office this morning after a week off for a cruise with my extended family. We left Boston and landed in Montreal, Canada. It was a great week with lots of new sights and new memories. The blog has been inconsistent over the last month; early in June, I spent a week volunteering at the camp, where my love for working with those with disabilities began 34 years ago.
My friend and former student, Hannah, reposted a meme on Facebook this morning. The meme was created to celebrate Disability Awareness Month, providing insight on a few things to keep in mind:
- Not all Disabilities are visible.
- If someone says they are disabled: Listen to them. No one should have to list their entire medical history to be listened to.
- No one is “too young” to be disabled.
- Stop suggesting ‘cures’ for a disability you know nothing about.
- Disabled is not a dirty word.
The post reminded me of a TEDx talk by disability advocate Stella Young:
I have likely posted this video in the past. Stella Young argues that we adopt the ‘social model’ of thinking about disability. The social model recognizes that society often creates limitations experienced by those with disabilities. Through practices like Universal Design, we can change the community and public space to create greater access for all; as I have repeatedly advocated, our community is better when everyone has the greatest possible access.
The social model is contrasted by the medial model, which holds the belief that disability is something that should be cured. Our job at Target is to create a more just and inclusive society. “Disability is a natural part of the human experience.” Progress toward enhancing the lives of those with disabilities is progress toward a more equitable world. This ideal is codified in the actions of all Target community members.