People With Disabilities
Sue O’Reilly, who has guest written today’s column on The Angry Cripple, is a freelance journalist. She is is a parent and raised her son with cerebral palsy until last year, when he died at the age of 21. She co-founded Australians Mad as Hell with Fiona Porter to campaign for an NDIS and established a charity called Fighting Chance to help people with disabilities pay for essential therapy services.
When does any form of disability turn into a “disease” to be eradicated?
When it is being discussed by doctors and medical researchers seeking money from governments, corporate donors and members of the public to fund research aimed at finding ways to prevent and/or cure some form of disability.
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Three weeks ago I found myself in a situation that I hoped would never happen, but always suspected would one day.
On a recent Saturday night I went to catch the train home after a pleasant evening out. I hurried to the station as I needed to go and arrived at the access toilet to find it occupied.
There used to be another further up the hall which has been labelled “closed” since some time in 2008. Getting desperate, I went to see if it was open now. It wasn’t.
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Recent news reports have highlighted the apparent difficulties in securing convictions where a person living with intellectual disability has been the victim of an alleged sexual assault.
Some alleged assaults take place where people are receiving care. This warrants closer examination, given the reasonable expectation that human services are meant to reduce risk of harm, not add to it.
Also, the greater the degree of disability a person lives with, the more likely it is the person will be living in a formal service arrangement, sharing with other people living with similar degrees of disability and served by staff.
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This week’s Angry Cripple column is from a contributor who is ‘mired in the disability muck’.
Last week, I went to enrol my nearly five year old girl into school.
There’s only one state school in my town, and the private boarding school, at $30K/annum is well beyond my budget, so Tamthiliya State School it has to be. The website looked great, and the vision statement said it all “Respect, Tolerance and Learning”. All in all, I was looking forward to her starting at Tamthiliya Primary. I’ve always assumed that schoolkids were well taken care of here, but I guess I was misinformed.
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This week’s Angry Cripple column is brought to you by Simon J. Green, a Melbourne producer and writer. He has cystic fibrosis and all his limbs. Reach out to him at simonjgreen.com. NOTE: There’s some naughty words and stuff in this column.
Cripples have sex.
That’s what I discovered the other week when I published an article for US-based online lit journal The Nervous Breakdown. In the article, I explained that I’m technically a cripple, and that I’ve also had sex. I wrote:
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Given the vigorous responses to last week’s column by Sue O’Reilly, when The Angry Cripple heard that Todd Winther was writing a response to run on the ABC’s Ramp Up website, the AC asked him if we could run it too. The Punch is running his column under Todd’s own byline rather than the Angry Cripple’s byline for reasons that will become clear.
Does it matter if the Angry Cripple is actually a cripple or not? You bet it does.
Others tell people with disabilities what their best interests are too often. For all of their good intentions, the people who look after us are the ones who do it the most. This is why The Angry Cripple’s identity is important. If he/she is a carer, then the column is doing itself no favours, and merely adding to the chorus of carers who already have their say in the mainstream media. If however, The Angry Cripple is disabled it represents an opportunity for a too often neglected voice to enter the mainstream.
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