CONTRADICTION OF EXPECTATION
Life can be complicated. Well, it shouldn’t be but for many reasons there are many twists and turns along the way that just make you want to pull your hair out.
I do wonder, for instance, why are there so many contradictory expectations and perceptions placed upon us as visually impaired people. For instance, in the fields of education and employment, we are told from some sources that ‘yes, you have full access and you are as equal as anyone else’. In truth though, the theoretical perception never quite matches the practical reality.
In past articles, I’ve written extensively about the hypocracy of specific education and employment based situations. These have included the local authorities who are happy to keep VI children in local schools but cut resources to fit budgets and hence tighten and decrease the support available to many individuals. Additionally , the supposed inclusive approach that segregates children out of certain lessons such as sport or cookery because the perceived health and safety risks are too much and the perceived affects of such actions on those children are ignored. True, there are some authorities and schools that are more culpable than others, but the contradiction is there as a living example.
Employment and welfare is another area where contradictions exist between the law and theory on the one hand and attitudes and reality on the other. Yes, through the equality act we have ‘equal rights’ to access employment and yes Access to work is a tool that is there to enable us to do this. Where there are many Visually impaired people who have managed to get through this system and into work, there are many others who have suffered because attitudes towards their abilities and skills are far way short of the mark. The low expectation of the abilities of visually impaired people by many sources is worrying but not surprising in todays society. On my daily commute, I’ve had people come up to me and say ‘Why do you have to travel at this time; its busy you know’ or ‘Have you been for a nice day out, thats nice for you’. When I say I’ve been to work, the surprise and disbelief is imeasurable. Its sad but it just means that the belief has to come from me.
There are many other examples of where such contradictions exist. To me, it shows that changing attitudes and perceptions is the key to ridding ourselves of such contradictions and of making theory a reality.