I've wanted to write a post about disability for a long time. Because it's a sore subject. So often I am asked how should I be treated? How to behave? How react? The spectrum of looks thrown at me since I've been in a wheelchair and obviously disabled - indescribable. A mixture of shock, helplessness, pity, curiosity, disdain and fear. Wrong corner of mouth pull up. Conscious looking away. Staring gaze. A catalog of awkward questions and statements: "Are you feeling reasonably well?", "It's incredible how you master your fate, I couldn't do it.", "I couldn't do it, I wouldn't want to live like that.", " And that despite your disability."...
And today I'm finally tired of it.
Because this morning the Austrian spokeswoman for disabled people of the ÖVP wrote me a WhatsApp message.
"Look, maybe that would be something for you." Attached is a link to the following article:
Here is my answer to Kira Grünberg:
Dear Kira Thanks for the link. However, this fund is for people with mental and intellectual disabilities...
Basically, it is of course great that there are funds that support people with disabilities in being able to live out their talents and to promote them.
I have to be honest though, I'm a bit shocked and thoughtful after reading this article. "Outsider Art", "Art by people who live outside of society", "andersART". These formulations do not sound like inclusion and community. It is so important that our society finally develops in a different direction in dealing with disabilities. Openness, tolerance, acceptance, understanding. The common in the foreground and not always the different.
Personally, I'm tired of being reduced to my disability so often. Not to be taken seriously. to be underestimated.
I think it's kind of a shame that you're thinking of me when you read this article. When the first paragraph says "art by people who are outside of society".
I have a company with 2 employees, pay a lot of taxes and live a normal, happy life - with a disability. in the middle of society.
Your job as spokesperson for people with disabilities is definitely not easy. But it is up to you, among other things, to have a positive influence on how people with disabilities are dealt with. Breaking down mental barriers. to show needs. To stand for inclusion. For the common. For progress. For enlightenment.
To me, this article sounds like regression and exclusion. With an emphasis on being different. Wouldn't it be better to use such a fund and attention to enlighten. To put people's skills in the foreground and not their "otherness"?
I'm tired of living in a society that suddenly separates and divides again, where differentness is projected and divided. I am for an open society, togetherness, tolerance, acceptance and compassion.
It's actually incredibly sad that in 2018 you still have to explain how to deal with people with disabilities. Disability is part of our society and must not be hidden, locked away, taboo or ignored. Every person is an individual, unique and has their own special needs. Whether with or without a disability.
How should one deal with people with disabilities?
I wish for normal interaction, very simple ;-) Appreciative, open, empathetic. Sincere sympathy instead of feigned sympathy. If you have any questions, then ask. No pigeonholing, lumping things together and lumping everyone together. No prejudice, no judgment, no paternalism, no collective underestimation.
People with disabilities are part of our society, belong in its midst, just like you and me.