The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


October 6, 2007

disABILITY: 'Disabled' doesn't mean 'unskilled'


I had applied for a dish-washing position at one eating establishment right after graduation. I'd worked in two other kitchens during prior summers and had volunteer experience to back me up. But, of course, the man looked at me and my cane more than he looked at my resume.

And with that, he turned me away, saying I'd end up getting knocked over and wouldn't be able to handle the busy environment there.

I was a bit irritated to know that I was seen as fragile or weak, at least as compared to my peers, just because I was blind. What people don't initially realize is that I do have ways of coping with circumstances and situations that work for me.

I do also have ways of doing a job as it's supposed to be done, and I do it as safely, accurately and professionally as other people do it. My methods might not be completely the same as other people's, but it's the slight modifications in the way I do things or the way I carry myself that makes me able to be on equal ground with others.

I'm sure there are reasons out there as to why a process ought not be modified, but it's ridiculous to reject modifications of process when the outcome ends up the same as it would have been otherwise.

You know, vision is probably the only sense that most sighted people use to its full capacity. And, because they do use it so fully, it leaves no real need for them to use their other senses to capacity. That doesn't mean that the other senses aren't as adequate or are of lesser quality than vision.

I, personally, use my other senses to a much greater capacity than I think people even realize is possible. For example, I have what I call 3-D hearing.

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