I am not disabled at the moment
But it could be an accident away
So let me be grateful for what I have
And celebrate it every day
Let me be thankful for Siri
That allows my eyes to see
Let me be thankful for voice to text
Which keeps my hands free
Let me be thankful for flashing alerts
That allow my ears to hear
Let me be thankful for a video call
That let’s me feel so near
Let me be thankful for all health professionals
Who check on my vital statistics
Let me be thankful for accessible transport
That let’s me choose my logistics
Let me be thankful for friendly people
Who look at my eyes and not my features
Let me be thankful for amazing nature
That let’s me experience all sorts of creatures
For a world that is accessible to everyone
Becomes more accessible to me
It reminds me of what to be grateful for
And how I can truly be
Dylan Alcott was named Australian of the Year 2022 this week. In his acceptance speech, he reminded us all that Siri, the voice command service available on a mobile phone (or Apple tablet, laptop or desktop computer), makes a phone very useful for a person who is blind. It also makes it much easier for people who can see as well.
How many other ways could we make life accessible for people of all abilities? Providing accessible options makes life more accessible for people with a much wider range of physical and non-physical abilities.
Whilst I have focused on mostly physical aids in this poem, how could we make life even more accessible for people with different non-physical abilities. I see the world through a neurotypical lens, but how much more of life could I experience if I had exposure to a neurodivergent lens? Why do we insist on therapy that pushes people towards a neurotypical life? What would happen if we embraced a neurodivergent life and incorporated that in our encouragement and support of others? Could we then become truly human?
The background photo is of a beach in Melbourne that I recently visited. I was able to walk onto the sand, sit on a blanket and enjoy the sunset, the seagulls, the flies and a little later, the beginning of a thunderstorm. It may sound like something easy to do. For some people, they simply cannot. Why does our society allow the majority of people to have experiences but not all people to have experiences? I know there are some progressive councils that provide beach paths and some locations offer beach wheelchairs. This is admirable. But a public beach is too much for some people and for those who can’t leave home, it is a luxury they cannot experience.
Humans have a long way to go on the path towards humanity. With love, Sue Ellson 🙂
P.S. I should also mention that I am extremely fortunate to have been able to live most of my life with a high range of abilities. However, I have lived with and cared for people who have a different range of physical and non-physical abilities and as their witness, I feel I must raise awareness of how the simple things in life are not always so simple.
Photo is of Hampton Beach in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on 14 January 2022.
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