So, continuing with the parts of my eBook Common Sense a Disabled Woman’s Perspective, here are the next two points.
Enjoy, and as always your feedback is welcome.
#2 Don’t just Listen to Me Hear Me!
This is related to the first piece of common sense but very different. The key difference between the listening and hearing can be summed up in two words understanding, and value. When you hear someone you both understand what they are saying and value their input. Everything else is listening.
I’ve had a lot of people say that they wanted my input, only to completely discount it and do what they were originally going to do anyways. It like they’re operating from a check list:
1. Come up with bad idea that screws with my life in some way.
2. Take feedback from me regarding how I think it’s a bad idea.
3. Spin feedback to show both that feedback was asked for and given and that I agreed to the idea.
4. Then do idea.
Seriously why did they even bother?
Here is an example: For over four years during the mid to late 90s I was a vegetarian. Not my choice mind you but because my then program manager was and she thought it was a healthier choice. When I was asked I said that I would prefer to continue to eat meat but that statement somehow got translated into, ‘okay to be a vegetarian’. The program manager never really wanted to hear me on this topic because if she did it would have challenged one of her core beliefs, and her ego couldn’t have survived that.
But it’s not just ‘the experts’ that just listen. Staff, friends and family members have all done so as well. Latter when everything has gone to hell because they didn’t take in account my thoughts and feelings they have realized their mistakes and have apologized (more on THAT one latter). At least they had to courage to admit they were wrong, which is better than most of ‘the experts’ have done in my life.
#3 Keep Up With the Paper Work
There it one burden that all people with a disability, no matter how great or small, share: Paperwork. Whether it’s to the government (local, provincial or federal), your service provider, school, doctor or whomever, it does not matter; if you have a disability you’re spilling more ink that a ‘normal person’. In my life I’ve had to battle both the government and my service
providers for what has been promised me. I have won more of these fight than I have lost (all have left scars though) and that is because I have kept very detailed notes and kept up with my record keeping. So even though you may think that keeping over 12,000 emails, or records going back 20 years is a bit obsessive or even paranoid, such behavior has saved my bacon big time on more than one occasion, and it may do so again in the future.
Another thing that has evolved from keeping records for twenty years is my own ‘way’ of doing paperwork. It’s no worst or better than any other way but it is mine; but it is amazing how many people think they can ‘improve’ on my system. The only problem would be that then it’s their system not mine. If I let them change my system then when they left in 3 to 4 years I would be left with a system no else can understand. My system on the other hand has survived helpful staff, opinionated experts and enthusiastic friends and family. Can’t ask more than that.