What does it mean to be identified as disabled? Its connotations are never good. Dis-abled, it’s such a broad, sweeping term to designate a multitude of individuals. Of course being disabled does present each of us with a set of challenges to be able to live fully within our own communities, full citizens of our own societies. This would seem like an obvious statement, but does anyone reading this feel that their own, everyday manouver, does not involve negotiating challenging obstacles?
I use a mobility scooter to enable me to get around. The physical layouts of our modern cities are slowly showing signs of acknowledging the presence of wheelchair users, but still, there is the sense that the urban environment within which I live, was not built for people like me. A curious mix of frustration and invisibility characterizes my experience of moving through the city. For the most part my fellow citizens choose not to see the wheelchair user navigate an awkward crossing, accessing train platforms etc. However, amidst the human forest, my own unique lived reality (I am also deaf), offers an opportunity to see and represent the world in alternative and hopefully challenging ways.