Meg Casey
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"Most Able Disabled"

Meg Casey's handicapped issues column

What if you became disabled?

Meg Casey
December 14, 1983

Dear Readers,

One the issues brought up most frequently frequently in my column has been accessibility. The importance of the issue is the issue is the necessity for stricter enforcement of the laws and building codes ensuring it, depends on how much funds and independence means to the individual. Or possibly "what" those two words "mean" to the individual by definition.

Is not uncommon for some people to take their physical agility so much for granted that they automatically assume you are referring only to an independence of attitude or political belief and a freedom of speech. The realization of physical entrapment concept seems absurd, “especially in America" if the entire concept that hasn't escaped them already.

Most people do not fully appreciate the seriousness of the issue of accessibility or inaccessibility until they are personally inconvenienced by it at some point. Unfortunately it is usually a bit late by that point.

I spoke before the membership of the Milford Jaycees and we focused on this. I had passed out copies of the questionnaire that I made up dealing with general information about themselves and their lifestyle such as: their age; occupation; marital status, # of children, what their hobbies were that they like to do most often to do and whenever they had spare time. They answered questions about the architectural constraints of their homes and workplaces as well as the physical description of the layout of their home living and office environments. For instance, did they live in an apartment or a house? How many floors? Are there stairs leading up to it? If so how many? Do you use the elevator? Are the elevator button panels lowered to meet up code? What kind of doors are on the building? Are they? How high are the handles? Are the ramps for stairs and curbs How many bathrooms up or downstairs? How many bedrooms up or downstairs? Was their own bedroom up or downstairs?

How much maneuverable walking space was there in bathrooms, kitchen and all other rooms? Enough for someone in a wheelchair could move about the house or office unhindered?

Average heights of cabinets, mirrors, closet poles dresser, light switches, outlets, bookshelves, stove, oven, countertops, refrigerator and freezer, tables, desk, file cabinets, telephone, fuse box, TV, stereo, sinks, coffee machines, towel dispenser, soap dispensers, knobs / locks / latches.

Does the workplace have a accessible bathroom facilities. Does the workplace have handicap parking spaces?

Are there any disabled people where they work? What positions on staff do they hold? What physical restriction do they have an which restrictions are only caused by the set up of the working environment? Could you keep on working your present job if suddenly disabled firmly in the future? Would you be allowed to?

Could you continue to live and would you like to live the lifestyle you do now if you were to suddenly become disabled? Why/how? Why not? Basically this was an awareness exercise for the gentlemen, making them see what their present situation is and how much it would have to change if anything should go wrong for them tomorrow.

Interestingly the majority didn't feel that they could cope or "handle" the entire ordeal. Many weren't sure whether or not they could or would ever want to continue the lifestyle they have now regardless of being able to keep their present job.

Another rude awakening was that set up for that most government eligibility requirements for state programs that assist with accessible adaptations for the home, education and rehabilitation. To be eligible for any assistance of this kind you can own nothing turning property over to the state and dissolving any large bank accounts. Financially people become strapped.

It is impossible to be middle class and handicapped today. There is no accessible housing available unless you are low income or can afford the penthouse luxuries. Helping to build a successful community is comparable to taking out insurance policies aren't active, productive and happy future for yourself and the people you love.

You can take it can take it from someone who lives there, the life isn't so bad. In fact it can be afraid darn wonderful if you look in the right places, but you have to want to.


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© 2015 to 2017 site design by Daniel Ortoleva
photographs and other content courtesy of the Casey family unless noted
blog posts and art by Meg Casey
originally published 1982 to 1985 in the Milford Citizen newspaper
Memorable Milford regrets that a political dispute has made it necessary to complete this project without the cooperation of a claimant to the original columns
The original author disdained those only seeking to profit from tragedies.
We did not feel that a disagreement should prevent the public from learning and enjoying these incredible pieces of advice and show they are still relevant to today.