Turn Frustrations over Accessibility into Teachable Moments

By Paul Lane, Abilities Expo Ambassador and KMET 1490 AM Radio Host

When you think of the word education what comes to your mind? If you're like me you think of schooling or some type of training. When it comes to frustration, what are some of the words that are swirling in your head? Probably words such as irritated, bothered, angry and the list goes on and on. We no doubt try to go about our lives as normal as possible. Living with a disability there are times when we have frustrating moments over accessibility or lack thereof. It could be at home, school, work, shopping and while were having fun. Many times the frustration can ruin whatever we're doing and leave us focusing on our limitations. 

Frustration and Disability

How to Wield Education as a Weapon against Frustration

It's OK to be annoyed by inadequate access, as long as your vexation is productive. Ask yourself, how can you utilize education to counteract the frustration?

    1. Take the time before you go somewhere to do research on the facility.
      You know what you need; make sure they have it.
    2. Email the corporate offices about suggestions that can help the disability community.
      It's possible that they don't even realize that there is an accessibility issue and it may be up to you to shed some light.
    3. If an organization refuses to take your concerns seriously, it may be time to no longer support the organization.
      There is a multitude of ways to show your lack of patronage besides refusing to darken their doorsteps. Tell your friends. Tell Yelp, Google Reviews or other crowdsourcing sites. Trumpet your discontent from the apex of your social media mountain. If this business has unwisely ignored your reasonable request, perhaps they will pay attention to their bottom line.
    4. If your issue is work-related and your supervisor has taken no action, you may want to contact your human resources department.
      It's one of the reasons they are there and, if your company is out of compliance with ADA regulations, they should know about it.
    5. Is the problem surfacing at school? Talk to your counselors or disabled student union about your concerns.
      It wouldn't be the first time we had to educate the educators.

From my personal experience, I know how heartbreaking and crushing it can be when people and organizations are ignorant of the challenges we face. They may take simple tasks such as climbing stairs and stepping off the curb for granted. They may have no idea that, for us, these tasks are not so simple.

So instead of kicking it up a notch to the highest level of frustration, I have decided to use this as a teachable moment to educate myself and others if they are willing. Please don't allow frustration to rob you of any joy or happiness.

About the Author:

Paul Amadeus Lane has been a C-6 quadriplegic since January 21, 1993. He's been a broadcast journalist since 2007 and currently hosts "In The Fast Lane" on KMET-AM 1490 ABC News Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Pacific time. Beginning in July, Paul will be co-hosting a brand new television morning show. You can always connect with Paul at www.Paulonwheels.com.

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