Throughout my life I have worked with the ALS Association to fundraise, gain support, and lobby state and national congress. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks muscle control and does not affect brain function. Steven Hawking is a testament to this, though his variation of the disease lets him live longer. Whenever I went to lobby it wasn’t uncommon to go with some people with ALS. These people had different types (where it attacks different regions first) and different levels of degeneration, from unsteady hands to loss of throat and leg control.
In class we’ve talked about stigma surrounding power wheelchair users and those with a Deaf accent. One of the women lobbying with me had a power wheelchair and preprogramed a speaking computer to give her speech, so as you might have guessed you get disappointing reactions. In a fancy Pennsylvania senator’s office, where everyone is dressed formally, you get almost all office workers talking to an ABLE MINDED woman with very loud, slow and basic voices. Yay for them not changing their speech after being told she was able minded! Yay for them coddling her! Yay for them thinking that their behavior was polite and nice. (-__-)