A-Z Disability Challenge | E : Events

This was originally supposed to go to a fellow blogger’s site that fall, but by the time I had the time to work on it, she was booked on her blog. So, when I came up with this series, I thought about putting this subject on my blog instead. I hope this post helps with creating or attending your next event.

We all make some type of events with our friends, coworkers, etc all the time. A lot of people love being the person that comes up with the ideas and puts it all together. I will give kudos to anyone that does that job, because I would have a headache going into it. Anyways If you are the one that plans for the entire thing, you usually have it all planned out in your notebook or tablet, just to keep everything organized, you might be missing some things that you wouldn’t necessarily think about needing to know right away.

If you invite somebody that has a disability, whether it’s physical or invisible, you need to cover all areas to fit that person’s needs. Now how do you do that? Well here are some of the basic things you need to remember to do.

  • You need to make sure the place where you will be having the event itself is handicapped accessible.

  • If you’ve invited somebody who is deaf, hire an interpreter.

  • Put things to at eye-level, so that everybody can reach for things easily.

  • Allow them to have their own food brought in, if they can’t have what you’re serving.

  • Brings plastic ware like forks, knifes, spoons, and even multiple straws.

  • Ask the person if they need help, especially if they didn’t bring somebody with them.

  • Make sure they are included in every aspect.

I was going to explain each one of the helpful hints in full, but I thought some were pretty self-explanatory. The first one needs to be discussed is making sure the area is accessible to everybody. For somebody with a disability, we always look out for certain things, like ramps, elevators, and a large bathroom. As a warning, from the moment we get out of our vehicles, we are like hawks, making sure everything is how it should be. You have to be as honest with them as you can as well. If you tell a person with a disability, that the building is accessible, you have to mean everything! If there are stairs, there has to be an elevator. If there is a curb, you have to say “there’s no ramp”. If the bathrooms are tiny as hell, you have to tell them!

Nowadays, lots of people have different food allergies. They might have an allergy to gluten, milk, peanuts, etc and since these are pretty common, a lot of people will respect their wishes and make sure to leave out these foods for that person. However, if you’re on a special diet, and this goes for vegan/vegetarians too, things can be a little bit more difficult for the planner. You want to serve food that everybody will enjoy, but when more than one person cannot have a certain dish, you can’t just change it for them. This is why I included allowing people to bring a small bento box of food that they know they can have to eat, but also I say this for those, who are only allowed to be feed through a tube as well!

To me, this last one just seems mandatory for anybody hosting or planning an event. You need to make sure that everybody in the room is getting attention. Whenever I’d go to events at school, I always felt like I wasn’t included on a lot of things my classmates were doing, and it made me feel really conflicted and sad, because you don’t want to pull somebody or a group of people away but you also don’t want to be lonely at the same time. One thing I do want to say is that, when you do have somebody with a disability at your event, don’t watch them like a hawk. We don’t want your full-on attention, we just want to be included with the rest of the group, so just treat us like in the way you would want to be treated.

Have you ever hosted and/or planned an event before? If you invited a person with a disability, did they explain to you what you needed to look out for to abide by their needs? If you’re disabled, please comment below with some of our helpful hints you think people should know when inviting disabled people to events. 

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A-Z Disability Challenge | C : Be Truthful To Your Children

Howdy!

This post is very close to my heart. Since my sister found out she was pregnant with my nephew, I wondered how we were going to explain to him about my disability. It’s kind of easier to explain to children in the grocery store about how came to be like this. Our go-to is “god made me like this” or “I was born like this” but I have a feeling Nolan isn’t going to let those explanations slide. I think it is important to talk about disabled people with young children.

I’ve never been able to hold him like everybody else because of my arms, so imagine the expression on his face when I started basically wagging them in front of his face when he was about three months old! He was mesmerized that these large hook-like arms that were just swinging back and forth. He’s been practically in love with them ever since. He has expressed his interest in my feet recently, one day he was on the couch and I started waving at him with my feet and he just starting waving with his foot! He’s starting to realize how different I am compared to his mom and dad. We have a special connection.

Children are both very curious and honest creatures. They haven’t been in this world long enough to see the bad unless they’ve been taught it since they were in the womb! They like to figure things out for themselves, and only ask their parents or grandparents when they’re a bit lost for words. I’ve seen a lot of kids in various ages, stare but also try to shield their faces so you don’t notice them. They usually wait to ask questions until I’m fully out of view, but I’ve realized if I tell them “hi” or I wave at them, they’ll just put you on the spot right there and you just have to go with your gut and hope their families will fill in the gaps the best they can after you leave. Here’s my advice to parents who would rather dodge this discussion because you think it might be too difficult for them to understand; if you’re comfortable then explaining the differences between a girl and a boy’s anatomy and/or race, then saying something how a person could be in braces from head to toe, standing in crutches, or rolling around in a wheelchair will be a piece of cake.

How do you explain to children about disability? Where do you stand on educating people on how to talk about some of the more common disabilities, like spina bifida, blindness, deafness, or even cerebral palsy to children at home or even at school?

A-Z Disability Challenge | B : Building Trust

Howdy!

I created this challenge to talk about disability topics and today’s post will discus about building trust with other people. So, this piece will contain some personal advice and experiences, but it’s more directed to the families of disabled kids and young adults.


Trust is a big thing.

You learn it from a very young age, I think you don’t necessarily realize it until you begin to look back and it does make sense, it all goes together. Here’s an example, whenever a toddler is about to do something he’s not suppose to, you tell him “no” and try to explain that he’ll get hurt. You can’t expect your child to leave it alone, that’s a rarity even in itself, so you’ll most likely see the kid do it anyways and start wailing because it got a bump on the head. First off, kids have to learn things on their own. You hope they’ll get the message and learn to trust you the next time you say something like that, but even you know better not to trust a young child either. So, it goes back and forth quite a bit…

As somebody with a disability, I rely on people to help me with things. I don’t like to, because I always feel like I can figure it out on my own, but there are things that I cannot do by myself so I need help with them. When you have to invite a third party, it can always be a hit or miss. I learned this while I was in school. Whenever my aides were out for a period of time, I had many, many substitutes that would have to be with me throughout the day. I would have to teach them what I needed for each class and what they could do to pass the time. They were kind of dragged from one place to another; not to mention to give your trust on a person you’ve just met once or only had a few times, circumstances would worry me sometimes because I didn’t know what this person would do.

Honestly, I tend to give people the benefit of a doubt. It’s one of the bad things about going with the flow. You don’t want to second guess people right away, so you go all in and give your trust away like it’s pieces of candy. However, I’ve learned over the years to listen to my body about certain things: your gut will tell you when something’s up and mine would flare up a lot while I was in school. I would break down in the middle of classes and feel completely awful, afterwards I would be switched out of that class and I’d calm down and be myself again. Unfortunately, I haven’t had this happen whenever I’m around people, just whenever I’m in a different place physically. I guess that’s better than anything though, right?

For families of disabled kids though, everything is heightened. They’re not there with their child. They have to hope that whoever’s watching over their kid is doing what that person would do for their own children. If something has happened that is a little weird, things can escalate really fast and as someone who has had been in this kind of situation, it feels horrible. You don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but if something is off about how you’re being treated whether it’s physically or emotionally, it is best to speak up about it. You don’t deserve to live in fear of what’s going to happen once the dominoes collapse. They have to give up a lot of their trust to the people their child is around on any given day, and that includes their friends, and that alone can cause a lot of anxiety, but you do continue to take chances because you do want your children to be treated like everybody else, if they don’t, how is your child suppose to live in the real world?

How are you with trusting others around you? And families, what kept you going when things weren’t ideal with your child’s aide or surroundings? Do you have any advice you could to other parents out there?

Blogmas | Routine Or Nostalgic?

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Howdy!

Last year I was heavily inspired by one of my Facebook friends Lori, to create both this post and last week’s about the Christmas movies I haven’t seen yet. For this one, I got the idea to write about it after she posted a status about whether or not she and her husband should put up their Christmas tree. The reason why she asked is because both of her children are older now and the eldest doesn’t even live with them anymore. So, she posed the question are putting up Christmas trees part of the holiday routine or wanting to be nostalgic?

When Blondie began to date Brandon, our parents really started to wonder if it would be worth it to put ours up too. Despite the fact that I am still living in the family home, my mom still suggested the idea of just forgoing the big tree and using my little purple tree instead. I ended up getting very angry with my parents about this and they decided to invite the two goofballs, who now usually have their tree up a day or two after Thanksgiving, over to get the 20 year old tree up and decorated in our living room.

I think at that point of time, it was a bit of a routine. My mom always likes to complain that since we only have it up for like two weeks, she’s the one taking it all down in the end. I think my nana can vouch for me when I say that I could help her taking down Christmas trees, since the last tree she had, we took down like three months after we probably should have, and nobody fell out of their wheelchairs or hurt themselves either!

While I was growing up, my grandparents always put up their tree, even though they relativity lived alone. I mean, their dog Casey would knock it down every once in a while, but it would go up on Black Friday and most times it would be taken down by the end of the first week of January. They absolutely loved having their tree up. I remember hearing a story that papaw would stop in his wheelchair and just look up at it in the middle of the day. It always brought out a lot of memories; some of the ornaments were originally the aunts, we had his favorite lights and tinsel draped around it as well. After he died, my nana didn’t stop putting it up because she was the only one there. She knew that the family would be there for that day in some form and it would be worth it in the end.

I’m glad that my parents never stopped putting it up, I love looking at it when it’s lit in those rainbow colors. The sparkles are hypnotizing. I never like getting stabbed by the branches but I love putting the family “relics” at the end of each one. And this year, we have a new member that gets to be a part of the chaos. Little Nolan watched his mommy and daddy put up theirs, and I think he’ll enjoy being close to the mess and you know mom will want to get a couple of pictures of him under the Christmas tree too!

I don’t think it matters if you live alone or have a whole house full of people, you should have some kind of tree up. Everybody deserves to feel festive in some way and to me, this is what usually does the trick.

What about you, do you put up some kind of Christmas tree in your house, apartment, or even dorm room? Do you think it’s part of our routine of the coming season? Or do you think we have them to feel nostalgic?

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