Showing posts from December, 2014

The Dead Kid Card

Uncharitable post ahead - warning.

There's an awesome movement going on in Australia that has one of the most potentially inappropriate names ever, given that it is around playgrounds - 'Touched by Olivia'. Let me tell you about it.

Olivia was a little girl - a baby, really - who died of some awful rare disease in 2006. Like so many parents who have lost a child to some tragedy, her mum and dad decided that they wanted to give her life meaning by working for something really worthwhile. So they started this campaign for inclusive playspaces, called 'Touched by Olivia'. It is a great campaign, with incredible successes - check it out.

But the campaign began in the name of a Dead Kid.

The campaign itself is not my issue. Not at all. Any time something good can come out of something terrible, that is a good thing. I understand that grief and anger is often best channeled into something productive, and I have seen this over an…

I Wish I Had Killed You Before You Were Born

I didn’t want you. I wish I had killed you before you were born.
That’s not what is written in this article, but that is what I hear. I read this article today, a story about a couple who terminated their pregnancy at 28 weeks – because their child had a slight physical deformity.

Frank and Cindy had a scan, and the scan confirmed their fears: their child was suffering from a deformity, one that would cripple its left hand. The hospital’s board of ethics approved the termination on the basis that the foetus had a disability.

A crippled left hand. I read the article, sitting in my wheelchair, and I thought – if that pregnancy was terminated because of a physical difference, what hope would there have been for me?

There’s a lot to consider when talking about late term termination of pregnancies. 28 weeks is a viable pregnancy – strangely, the foetus was at more risk inside the uterus than out, because it had a disability. Although there are no abortion statistics collected in…

I Have A Dream

In 1963, Martin Luther King delivered what became one of the most famous speeches of all time – ‘I have a dream’.

Tonight, on the eve of International Day of People with Disability, I wonder what that dream would have looked like had King been Australian, and disabled.

He might have talked about Australia signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, six years ago. He might have said that this came as a ‘great beacon light of hope’ to thousands of Australians who had been ‘seared in the flames of withering injustice’. That it came as a 'joyous daybreak to end the long night of our captivity'.

He almost certainly would have agreed that in 2014, people with disability, like African American people in 1963, are not free. He might have agreed that we are still sadly crippled not by our physical, neurological, or intellectual condition, but by the ‘manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination’. Like the African American people of 1963, people…