May 8th, 2006


the social model of disability in action

Oh my. New York Times article about a ballet class for physically disabled kids. "She'll never be a prima ballerina. This isn't about that. She just wants to be like everyone else." *cries*

Yes. This. Recognising that you have physical limitations, and finding ways round them. So what if I have to use a walking stick? if I need boots to support my ankles and take the orthotics? So what if I have to sit down more often than other people? if I need a mask to breathe in smoky air? I know what my limitations are. Achieving "normality" isn't the key. The key is feeling normal.

This is why, in wanting to be able to go cycling, I never cared about trying to learn how to ride a "proper" bike. What have I got to hide? Trying to pass for "normal" only lasts until I pull the metaphorical collapsible walking stick out of the bag and unfold it - it being pretty damn impossible to strap a non-collapsible stick to a bicycle. And I have issues with collapsible walking sticks for permanent disabilities - my disability doesn't neatly tuck itself away just because I'm not in the mood for it, so why should my assistance device? (It's different if the disability itself is temporary or transitory - like if someone only needs the stick on a bad day - but that's not the case for me.) The tricycle lets me go cycling like a normal person, at a normal person's speed, on normal roads and cycle paths. That is enough.