Deeply Rooted in Our Silence Is Ableism

by | Essays

The rehabilitation center we’re affiliated with is an old school adapted with an elevator and sliding doors at the entrance but does not have adequate change spaces.

The only two change tables at this center are polar opposites in design and both entirely inaccessible.

One table is large and low. This is bad because, with the extra space, my son is able to roll around while I bend. It’s so low, only sitting on it makes the task somewhat bearable.

The second table, found in the basement, is narrow and unusually high. It reaches my mid-torso and has no lift. I have to raise my shoulders to get the job done.


I thought we were the problem.


I must be the only person who finds this difficult. My son is the only one here who doesn’t use a regular bathroom. We must be doing it wrong.

Of course, today, I realize the design is the problem. The other problem is I never spoke up. And, yet, another issue is that the staff didn’t champion accessible facilities for their clients years before we were ever clients.


Deeply rooted in our silence is ableism—the discrimination of disabled individuals in favor of non-disabled people.


I didn’t know I had a right to file a complaint because I didn’t realize I was also looking at life through the eyes of a non-disabled person, which is only one way to be in the world.


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