“If equal protection is a collective commitment and not just a courtroom catch-phrase, its first beneficiaries must be voters–such as minorities and those with disabilities–who have been systematically excluded from shaping the world in which they live.”
—From an OP/ED in the Los Angeles Times (Dec. 26)
As I continue examining how people blog, I stumbled upon a large number of bloggers who focus on disabilities. While these subjects were once rarely discussed in “proper society”, the subject of the disabled, mentally and physically challenged, mentally ill, and other disabilities are now out in the open. There are tons of people talking about what it is to be disabled, living with disabilities, facing disabilities, and living with people who are disabled.
Did you know that more than 56 million Americans are disabled? According conservative estimates, approximately 6% of India’s population is disabled. The disabled make up a good minority of many countries around the world, and only in the past couple decades have they had a voice and access.
A new talk show focusing on disabilities is seriously impacting much of the new “face” of disabilities. DisAbility News & Views Radio is heard every Tuesday and Sunday and hosted by Monica Moshenko on WXRL in New York as well as on the web. She says she couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a radio program solely focusing on the needs of people with disabilities locally or nationally. “There was a huge void in talk radio for people with disabilities and their families. I am just filling it.”
First broadcast in June 2004, DisAbility News and Views Radio can be heard using ABACAST on the web. Moshenko’s goal is to provide a forum for people with disabilities to share, educate and inspire the public. Interviews with celebrities, charity organizations, medical professionals and experts, laywers and more, providing extensive information on all aspects of disability and health, especially for children. With growing sponsorship efforts, future plans include syndicating the show with a national radio network and broadcasting live five days a week.
A lot of legal issues concerning the disabled and equal rights can be found on the web. Some provide general information while others are ongoing blogs reporting on the current events and news for and about the disabled. The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Blog, Disability Law Blog, Blog on Disability Law, and Isolani UK – Web Accessibilty and News on the Internet provide extensive information on the legal issues while, other blogs and sites offer information directly to the disabled like Adaptive Environment News, Americans with Disabilities Act, and e-bility.
A lot of people are using blogs to open the doors to their very private world, helping others to know what is going on inside of them and around them as they live with their disability, and in some cases, the blog is their only voice when their ability to speak is limited or gone.
In a very candid introduction to his site, Kea Blog, Mr. Watson, a New Zealand resident living with ataxia after multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, explains:
A lot of people are curious about my disability yet aren’t sure how to ask. I know most people who meet me won’t read this blog but to the few that do I will answer questions they may wish to know.
1. I am not drunk, I very rarely drink, I slur my words and stagger fairly consistently.
2. I walk around using a walkingstick (I walk short distances unaided).
3. Yes everything works properly, if you know what I mean.
4. No, I won’t lend you money, I’m way too poor.
5. I am not blind, but I’m ok anyway.
6. Of course you can offer to help me with something, if I can help you I will too.
This kind of open candor is what makes reading the blogs by disabled people fascinating and encouraging.
There is a wide variety of bloggers blogging about their own disabilities to help the world understand about their disability, their ability to function in the world, the struggles of day-to-day life, and a lot of the sadness, frustration, and humor they find being an active mind caught in a inactive body. Some interesting blogs include:
- Fang World – The secret diary of a disabled blogger in the early 21st century
- Disabilities Studies Blog from Temple University
- High on Hope – Blog for helping to improve the health of needy people
- Jeff Space – Blog on living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, or DMD
- Erik’s Multiple Sclerosis Blog
- Did I Miss Something – Blog about a differently-abled woman
- Disabilities Unlimited
- Schizophrenia Daily News Blog
- The Gimp Parade
- Rolling Rains Report – Dialogue on Travel, Disability, and Universal Design
- Broken Clay Journal – Living with Multiple Sclerosis
- ADHD and Me
- Gimp Eye for the Clueless Guy
- Adventures in Autism
I’ve only brushed the surface. You can find many more blogs by and about the disabled at Globe of Blogs – Disabled Blogs.