But it gets buried under the flurry of pink crap products that get carted out for Breast Cancer Awareness Month every October. Yet Disability Awareness Month has been around longer — indeed, this is the 20th anniversary of the month, and a whole week for the “physically handicapped” was created in 1945. As Rosemary Garland-Thomson shows us, there are linkages between the “extraordinary bodies” of breast cancer survivors and persons with disabilities. Yet, because the pink stuff is such a big business, and persons with disabilities are still such an object of horror and scorn (see the new film “Blindness” — wait, don’t see it!) it’s really no wonder that the disability awareness gets lost.
Even someone who should no better, i.e. me, has not done anything to celebrate disability awareness month on campus. Why? Because I’ve been buried neck deep in assessment crap — our NEASC Reaccreditation site visit is coming up the week after next. Also, we have a two major events for WGSS coming up in the next two weeks. Do I compete against myself?
I suppose it’s not too late, but where am I going to fit this into all the stuff that’s already going on around the U? Besides, shouldn’t the disability office be taking the lead on this? Oh right, they don’t take the lead on anything! In fact, they are very reactive not proactive, i.e. they don’t do outreach to students, they just wait for students to come to them, and then make it really burdensome for students to get the accomodations they need. For example, I had a hearing impaired first-year student last Fall who had to wait three weeks to get an FM receiver she requested before she got there. This year, I’m having problems getting adequate services for a visually impaired student. In general, the office is not very user friendly and the director takes a rather disciplinary approach, i.e acts as if a student is trying to get away with something.
While we all know that breast cancer research is a good cause, it is sad that other issues get put to the back burner because there isn’t a celebrity supporting it! I think the only reasons Parkinson’s, Autism and spinal cord injuries are at the forefront are because of Michael J Fox, Jenny McCarthy and Christopher Reeve.