Attendance at the Abilities Expo, was highly encouraged by my company. They wanted us there at least one of the three days. I don’t attend any expos or things of that nature, it’s just not my scene. However, I didn’t have much choice here. So I went with some of my colleagues on the last day, Sunday.
This is one of those events where I don’t really know how to behave or act. I work with the disability community, but I am not an expert on protocol or etiquette. Also, the folks I tend to work with have Spinal Cord injuries and or disabilities. Other than that, they have their wits about them and no mental illnesses. You see, even as I write this, I don’t know if anything I’m saying can be seen as offensive. Imagine how I felt while at the actual event?
At one point, a young man in a wheelchair looks at me, so I nod and then he starts to scream and thrash around. I stood there and had no idea what I was supposed to do or how to react. His caretaker said something, and he calmed down.
The abilities expo doesn’t cater to any one group within the disability community, so you don’t really know who you may encounter at the event. My concern is that I do not have the proper tools or skill set to handle situations like the aforementioned. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do when that happens?
I will say that there are a lot of great tools and accessibility products there to see. We as a people, though we can improve, do attempt to make like easier for individuals afflicted with a broad range of disabilities. I’m happy to see things improving, though there is much work to be done.
Honest posts like this one are meant to educate, help, and show that you are not the only one who thinks these things. We are humans, and some of us just don’t know what we are supposed to do. My hope is that someone who reads this can guide me on this for future encounters like that one.
When that guy started to scream and thrash around, I had no idea what was going on, what I was supposed to do, what set him off, and I just wanted to retreat and get away from him. That’s how I felt. I don’t think that there is any shame in admitting this and seeking to learn from it, it’s the only way we improve and grow as people.
If my honesty comes off as offensive, I’m sorry for that, but I’m not sure what you’d expect me to say? How would lying about my thoughts help anyone? No, it won’t help, if you don’t admit your truth, then you will never grow. We all share the world together, and we have to learn from each other. If you are not on board with that, then that’s your problem, not mine.