We made it!! To me, this week, making it to Friday feels like a very real accomplishment. I don’t know how we’re somehow almost at the end of July – the month has truly flown, and yet I feel like I have so much to do before the end of the month! This week has been a really important reminder to me of the importance of sleep, too, and of taking care of myself! I hit a real wall of exhaustion earlier in the week and really made sure to get to bed earlier after that. Sometimes I try to fit so much into each day that I forget how much my body needs sleep! So while I have things to do this weekend, I’m going to work hard to get sleep, too.
Anyway – on to the favorites. This week, they all have a disability focus in one way or another!
Okay, this is super cool. This is a TV show (it plays on Amazon, but the episodes are all online for free too) and website that lets your virtually tour colleges! When I applied to colleges, I only toured a very limited number of colleges because logistically, traveling and touring was just too challenging. So I love that this is a way to let more students virtually tour colleges they might not otherwise be able to see – whether they’re disabled, can’t afford to travel, or whatever the circumstances are. And I talked to staff on the show who confirmed they’re committed to including information about disability services and accessibility in the videos! I love it.
I’m going to share a few teacher wishlists over the coming weeks – if you’re able to help fulfill any of them, it would be amazing! This teacher is a special education teacher in New Jersey, and it’s her seventh year teaching! I’ll be buying a few items myself, but know she’d appreciate any help you can give.
Hitha did a whole issue of her newsletter focused on Disability Pride Month, written by Qudsiya. The whole thing is excellent – please go read it – but I want to excerpt my favorite part here because it’s SO good.
What are 1-3 things each of us could do to make our homes/ businesses/ communities more accessible to people with physical/mental/invisible disabilities?
Here’s my attempt to break this down into three simple steps:
- Ask: If you encounter someone in your community who has a disability, first ask if they want assistance, and be prepared to accept that they might say “no.” Within the concept of asking is the concept of offering—if you’re hosting an event, for example, it always feels welcoming when the host asks about people’s access needs in advance, and offers information about the accessibility features of the place where the event is being held (e.g., ramps, ASL interpreters, extra lighting, etc.). Here’s a great resource on accessible events.
- Listen: Really take into account what a disabled person is telling you about their needs—just like you are the expert of your needs, they are the expert of theirs.
- Advocate: If you’re participating in an activity, and you’re not sure if it’s accessible, ask questions—Is there a ramp? Will there be sign language interpreters or captioning? Will you provide guides/assistants for blind participants? A great form of allyship is to help take the burden off of disabled people to constantly advocate for access. When we have more voices demanding access, we’re more likely to affect true transformation.