Just Give Us the Proper Accommodations!
When I was diagnosed with autism at three, my public school came up with something called an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). What that’s supposed to mean is that in certain cases, I need some accommodations like extra time on tests, sitting in front of the classroom to pay better attention in class, headphones for loud assemblies or pep rallies, clearer directions that are broken down in simpler steps, etc. Luckily, I’ve gotten some of those accommodations handed to me and followed through… most of the time, at least. Other people aren’t so lucky.
Some places don’t have elevators or ramps for physically disabled people, there aren’t often subtitles for deaf people or others with auditory processing issues (like autism, ADHD, etc.), some autistic people are forced to go to pep rallies or other loud events without noise-protection headphones, there often aren’t enough handicapped bathrooms and/or parking spaces if there are some at all, and a whole lot more. Why is that? We disabled people are humans, too, aren’t we? So, why is it so hard for many places to give us disabled people reasonable and proper accommodations?
Just give us the proper accommodations!
It’s literally not hard to do! Let an autistic person wear headphones during loud pep rallies and assemblies, paint some handicapped parking spaces, give learning disabled people extra time on tests and read the instructions, give clear directions! And if you need the extra money, then it’s not that hard! Maybe this might be a challenge for smaller businesses, but I know the billion-dollar and multi-million-dollar industries can afford to build ramps and handicapped bathrooms for physically disabled people. So, why do we act like it’s so hard to give the proper accommodations?
I think it has something to do with the fact that a lot of people think we’re in the minority, so they don’t really have to appeal to us. Luckily, that sentiment is slowly going away. A good majority of places have ramps and elevators. Maybe they were built more for wheeling supplies into the building or when someone’s too tired/lazy to walk, but at least disabled people can depend on those. Sadly, not all accommodations are offered. Many schools don’t allow autistic students to wear noise-protection headphones during loud assemblies or pep rallies, some learning disabled people aren’t allowed extra time on their tests, instructions are almost never read aloud or clear enough, and the less I say about the stigmatization of mental illness, the better.
Why do most people acknowledge physical disabilities, but not other types of disabilities? It’s because we can see a physical disability; we can’t see a disability like autism or a learning disability. I guess that’s why people call autism an invisible disability. Still, you can’t see a disability with your own eyes doesn’t mean the disability isn’t there. Even the people who have chronic diseases that affect their physical bodies have to deal with this as well. I mean, we’re still disabled; just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean the symptoms are gone. Maybe some of us with invisible disabilities don’t need wheelchairs or walkers or canes, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need anything at all. Maybe some of us need noise-protection headphones, more time on tests, having clear instructions that might need to be read aloud, and some days off to recharge our batteries.
Every human has different needs, and disabled people aren’t any exceptions. If neurotypical people can have their needs met, why not disabled people? Just give us the proper accommodations! Is it really that hard? I personally don’t think so.