Technical Accommodation


I’m struggling with the issue of technical accommodation, who’s responsibility is it, who pays, and who gets to keep the gear?.

As a disabled person there are pieces of technology that make many things in my day and my personal and professional life possible. I’m going to publish a picture of myself showing the technology I use just to go outside my door. There are five, no really five bits and pieces that I need to feel safe going outside my house, more soon on this topic.

The technical accommodations I need to live, my white cane, my filters, my hat, etc.. I provide for myself and have always done so. These items are expensive. I run at least two thousand dollars a year for the bits and pieces I need to leave my house.

The technical accommodations I needed to study were and interesting rats nest the wrong thing at the wrong time. By the time technical aids would appear it would be 2/3 of the way through the school year. Ultimately the school would own the gear and when I left it went into the basement of the school and was forgotten. Yet I would have to go through the same process the next year to get the same gear that again the school would own and would ultimately be forgotten and tossed. Accommodating hardly, disabling absolutely.

It always hit me as stupid that a school with one blind kid would not let the kid at least use the technical aids, say over the summer or for the next year of study. It’s appalling to me the issue of ownership. I am assuming that people in wheelchairs go through similar problems. Getting a chair maintaining a chair upgrading a chair can’t be inexpensive. I’m sure there is always an issue of ownership. Ownership in the context of payment. Prosperity and poverty rears its ugly head again. When I didn’t work for almost a year most of the items I use, I need to leave the house either disappeared as they were no longer functional or went into a lower state of functioning. I went without, impacting my functionality, and my quality of life.

Work is no different. There are very good laws in the US for providing technical accommodations to people with disabilities. There are similar laws in Canada but they are inconsistent and implemented per province instead of nationally. But where is the ownership. Is the law written so that the disabled person can only use the accommodation in the context of work for one company. What about if the disabled person wants to read a book for themselves are they misusing the technical accommodation by using it for themselves instead of work? Why isn’t the law written in a way that the accommodation is provided for the disabled person and can be used anywhere the disabled person works. Disabled people in general are loyal to a job, being disabled its very hard to find a job. Part of that difficultly is the money needed to accommodate us in a job. Whats inappropriate? Criminal?, Wrong?, If the accommodations were provided for the disabled person to do a job then leave the accommodations with the disabled person so they can continue to do that job even if they leave the company.

Is if theft if a disabled person takes a technical accommodation with them? Think about it. Where will that asset end up if not with the disabled person. In the junk yard I can guarantee it. How will that disabled person do their job or get a job in the future without that technical aid? If you are adamant on keeping the technical aid when a disabled person is laid off, fired or voluntarily leaves a job what are you really doing. You’re disabling the person. You are taking away their ability to make a living to get a job to be as productive and capable as they can be.

Are you going to use the technical accommodation as a golden hand cuffs to keep a disabled person locked into a role? Servitude, slavery of a sort, your abuse coming from you attitude, “Pathetic disabled person if you leave this job you’ll never be accommodated like this again”. Seriously!!! You disabled person you should be thankful you have a job let alone the ability to do your job. This unfortunately has been my experience with some employers in Alberta Canada. Ontario Canada used to be very enlightened. They had a program in place where individuals were accommodated for day to day living, education and work by the provincial government. I don’t know if the program still exists but when I lived in Ontario the gear stayed with the disabled person.

Ultimately I suppose I am a thief but who is the criminal?

At this point in my life where I live in Canada there is a sense that if I allow you to accommodate me and provide me with technical aids. I should feel gratitude I should feel “lucky” that you are so willing to help me out in these bad times. I’m supposed to appreciate the accommodations. Appreciate. I am supposed to understand that I would be nothing but a pour pathetic disabled person without the hand out i’m getting from you. What I do appreciate is the opportunity to do a job to partner with you to realize our potential together. I appreciate the challenge of work the rewards of accomplishment. I don’t appreciate your false charity in giving me a job or a trinket or a toy to do my job. I’m sorry I will not be beholden to you for the ability to work. I will appreciate opportunity, challenge and accomplishment.

At this point in my life I am unable to get help from the government of Alberta to get technical aids. Broken down economies will do that. In bad times employment equity, funded accommodations are out the door. I’lll be writing about the pathetic state of affairs of health care in Alberta soon. At this point in my life I don’t want to be handcuffed, beholden, grateful for your charity. I would much rather make the personal sacrifices so that I can afford the bits and pieces I need to support my professional career. No offence I want to be able to work and I want to be able to work anywhere. If you expect me to be in an office from 8:15am to 4:30pm I will most definitely be asking for the accommodations I need to do that. But if I’m out an about consulting I want to make sure I have the ability to continue to do consulting work for anyone, anywhere. After all I need to eat too.

Militant? Unappreciative? Head up my ass? Hardly I’m not a pour disabled person. I am just like anyone else trying to do the best that I can. Trying to reach my potential and give meaning to my life and those that my life touches. I am also trying to live through and survive this economic crisis I am trying to eat too. I am not your slave I will not bow down in slavery or servitude to you.

It’s profoundly expensive being disabled, profoundly. I invest thousands of dollars a year to make sure I can be as high functioning as I need to be to live, get a job, enjoy my pursuits. In prosperity I am very high functioning and can contribute greatly to society. In poverty, well, not so much. My personal preference is to be a contributor and not a burden.

It makes sense to me that disabled people be they visibly or invisibly disabled be accommodated to realize their potential That those accommodations go to the disabled person, the disabled person leads and is always involved in the accommodation process. The accommodations themselves are funded either by the individual, the state, and the employer. As ultimately all benefit from a disabled person being accommodated.

Respectfully and with appreciation, at this point in my life, where I live, and where I work. I’ll do it myself. I don’t want you to ever have the ability to take away my ability to work to live to learn. I am no thief.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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