I am hard of hearing and rely on lipreading. Video can be difficult, for a variety of reasons, including camera angle, voice-overs, sound effects, accents, and animation. Every time captioning fails at the movies, I am reminded of my inability to participate in activities many Canadians take for granted. I feel belittled, squashed, unimportant.
Many organizations and affected families across the country have been calling for a national autism strategy. The wide range in disparity of publicly funded services for autism across the country has even generated a kind of "medical migration" with several published accounts of families leaving their home provinces (most commonly, Atlantic provinces, Ontario and Quebec) to move to Alberta or British Columbia where autism services are more readily available and/or more flexible. It is also no longer uncommon to find Canadian families using crowdsourcing campaigns to fund their children's autism and related therapies.
The impacts of informal caregiving commitments do not remain confined to the home: they are felt in the Canadian workplace and reduce productivity. They translate into 2.2 million hours of reduced effort in the workplace every week and cause an estimated $1.3 billion productivity loss annually, says the report.
Human beings are not good at predicting how they will react in circumstances that have yet to unfold. Those of us working in healthcare understand that life-altering illness, trauma or anticipation of death can sometimes sap the will to live. In those instances, healthcare providers are called upon to commit time; time to manage distress, provide unwavering support and to assuage fear that patients might be abandoned to their hopelessness and despair. That is the essence of how medicine has traditionally responded to suffering. Stopping time by way of arranging the patient's death has never been part of that response.
While my hearing is pretty bad, I can hear some things and am not considered clinically deaf. I had a CAT scan in my early 20s, which showed that my cochleas didn't completely form. My diagnosis is "profound hearing loss." Loud, deep noises are my friends. I've never heard a bird sing. I can't hear the kettle whistle or the doorbell ring.
Many Canadians are well aware that a disability could occur at any time. Ninety-six per cent of us believe it, according to a recent RBC survey. The same survey showed that more than three-quarters of us also believe that missing three months of work, due to disability, would put us in serious financial jeopardy. Here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for a possible disability.
Obese people, perhaps especially women, face a lot of discrimination. A question that is increasingly asked is whether they should be legally protected from acts of prejudice. Shouldn't people who are obese be judged on their merits with regard to jobs, education, health care etc. and not on their size? As we discuss what should be the legal approach to bias against obese people, let's also change our attitudes. Let's salute nutritious eating/drinking and physical activity for everyone. But let's not allow the size of people to dominate our judgment of them. The Jazzercise instructor had it right: it's time to assess everyone "on my merits, not my measurements".
You know that feeling when you're hurried to get to work or an appointment downtown but the subway trains are all packed? So you fidget with angst until a less jam-packed car zooms into the station? Now, multiply that stress by 20 times. That's what it feels like to be a disabled man or woman waiting for a subway train in Toronto, at any time of day.
Many Canadians are in need of mobility options. I work in the community with a lot of seniors, but it is not strictly seniors that need assistance. With many individuals struggling within their own homes, it's refreshing to see the selection and level of innovation. Such is the newly opened the ReliAble Living Centre.
The nub of my and others' unease with the current International Symbol of Access is that it excludes over 97 per cent of people with disabilities, because it is all about wheelchairs, rather than accessibility. To those who fear that the competition I've launched is aimed at throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and getting rid of the wheelchair symbol altogether: this is definitely not the case. What I'm asking is for designers to reimagine the concept of accessibility and to come up with a revised symbol or set of symbols that will be more inclusive.
In 1969, the universal symbol for accessibility -- a blue square overlaid in white with the stylized image of a figure in a wheelchair -- made its first appearance. But the symbol is still built around a stick figure -- not a person. But the most important problem with the International Symbol of Access is this: it is exclusionary. The symbol is all about the wheelchair -- even though the majority of disabilities are not mobility-related. That is why, with the enthusiastic co-operation of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, I have launched an international competition to find a contemporary symbol.
During his 22 years at CityTV, David Onley was an anchor, producer, science and technology specialist and weatherman. He was also Canada's first senior newscaster with a visible disability. Having lived with polio and post-polio syndrome since the age of three, he has broken down many social barriers. He has worked tirelessly to improve accessibility for all.
I was in Grade five when I fell in love with basketball. Michael Jordan fuelled my over-the-top obsession with the sport. Being a kid with a disability didn't stop me from dreaming of dunking or playing one on one with Michael Jordan. Defying people's expectations has been one of my missions in life.