Freud said if you love and work, you have a full life. I’d add play and pray. Here are some signs of hope this week that people with disabilities are mainstreaming into regular life more, particular in the area of play:

  • Deaf man wins Dancing with the Stars contest and uses his prominence to educate people about issues faced by Deaf people. Nyle DiMarco wanted to teach Deaf kids math. Through DWTS he says, he can “educate the world and & invest in Deaf children”.
  • One of the contestants in the national spelling bee, who finished in the top ten of the contest, was a child born deaf who has cochlear implants.
  • A Ukrainian, Wheelchair-using fashion model, Alexandra Kutas is making waves for inclusive fashion shows.
  • People with disabilities are protesting at showings of the movie “Me Before You”. The glorifying of a quadriplegic’s suicide and the fact that there was no disability input in the script, in the choice of the actor playing the part of a quadriplegic, etc. deserve to be publicly commented on.
  • More Kindle players are becoming more accessible to people who are blind. New features being introduced into Amazon’s Kindle readers and Fire tablets will now make these devices readily accessible to the visually impaired. Side note: Check before buying to be sure the device you’re lusting after will work for you!
  • People with disabilities are holding candidates accountable for taking stands on disability issues and advocating for accessibility of polling places under the banner “Crip the Vote”.
  • Lured by a free month and American Council for the Blind’s (ACB) work with Netflix, to become more accessible, I signed up. I know the accessibility is in its infancy, but I was amazed both positively and negatively. The website is inaccessible. Onscreen visually are names of movies but screen readers can’t read them. ACB has a list of audio-described shows and movies so you find one of those you want to watch and then search it out using the search box on the Netflix page. Supposedly you can watch on computer or on iPhone, but I couldn’t get the computer to play it. But on the iPhone it worked fine and “Antz” came through complete with description. Five minutes was enough to convince me I didn’t want to watch it, but I could if I wanted to. I’ll go through the list of what’s available this weekend and see if I can get all I want watched in a month. I’ve never been a huge fan of television programs except for M.A.S.H., so I may not have to watch much to get full value out of my free month.
  • In the Midwest, rhubarb is a rite of spring. A friend who lives in an assisted living facility because of various disabilities was lamenting the fact that they wouldn’t have their usual rhubarb crumble this year because the gal whose son provided the rhubarb died. One can purchase rhubarb, but the facility’s management apparently wasn’t going to. Around here purchasing rhubarb would be like purchasing air. So I asked friends and friends of friends to share their rhubarb and a friend to truck it out there to the facility. From the first delivery rhubarb bread pudding and rhubarb crumble were enjoyed. In a couple days, another ten pound shipment will go out.

Small victories!