One of the most notable features of the new Disapedia website is their Etiquette section. There is a Guide to Appropriate Terms, which explains to the able-bodied acceptable terminology to describe us disabled folk. For example:
Acceptable: Disease; illness Unacceptable: Malady. This antiquated, florid term has connotations of affectation and eccentricity which are stigmatizing.
But I like the word malady! I want to be affected and eccentric! Having a malady sounds so much more interesting than a plain old disability or disease. Mah-la-dee. It rolls off the tongue just so. I love Victorian words, they're so melodramatic. But otherwise, it's a superb guide.
There is also How To Talk To A Disabled Person, which thus far explains how to talk to persons in wheelchairs, and people with vision, hearing and speech impairments. You know what I would love to see added? I would love to see a guide to talking to people of unknown mental capacity. Let me explain. In Gimp Camp - yes, that's what I call it - there were a couple of guys in wheelchairs with full-body paralysis who spoke using computers, like Stephen Hawking. However, unlike Hawking, I think they had severe developmental disabilities, but it was hard to tell because I couldn't use regular speech as a gauge. I was never really sure how to communicate with them, beyond "Hi, how are you? Nice day, isn't it?" I'd love to see a guide to communicating with developmentally delayed people, especially those who communicate through computers.
Last, but not least, there is What To Do When You're Holding An Event. I'll have to remember this when I host an upcoming Pagan celebration. Remember when I was bitching about a local Pagan group who seemed to believe that making rituals accessible was the responsibility of PWDs? I decided to step up and show them that a ritual could be fully accessible and inclusive of PWDs, children, the elderly, and folks using public transit. My coven and I are organizing the ritual for Mabon, the harvest festival in September. Now I have to find a fully accessible space that is located in a transit-accessible location.
I also need to figure out what is involved in 'fully accessible'. I know it means wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators, and accessible bathrooms. I also know that realistically, I may not be able to accommodate every single accessibility need that exists. A friend of mine send me a list and it's huge! But I want to do my best to at least cover the basic points. Any suggestions from you guys out there? What do you think is a basic accessibility requirement for a semi-public Pagan ritual? Thanks!
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