Can we all agree that 2020 has been horrible? Goodness! As chronically ill people, we were already living “social distanced”, at least certainly more so than an able bodied person.
But this year has been downright scary. Trying to take every precaution to not get coronavirus, while still dealing with our other daily symptoms from our health issues, has been exhausting.
It doesn’t help that the list of who is most at risk of getting coronavirus keeps changing. I’ve read some articles that almost sounded as though they were minimizing how many people with disabilities were really at risk!
However, if there is a bright side to all this, is that the rest of the world has gotten a glimpse of what our every day like looks like. We are already home, wearing masks, washing our hands, avoiding crowds and social distancing.
Another eye opening item of note: all of a sudden, employers, businesses, schools, etc… figured out ways to offer remote working and learning, to better sanitize those environments and the importance of wearing a mask. Hmmmm? I know many, many in the chronic illness community have been asking for this provisions for decades, and they fall on deaf ears.
I’ve heard stories of disabled peoples having asked employers for accommodations for their disabilities in the past, and were denied. Now with COVID-19, those same accommodations are readily available for everyone. It’s frustrating.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. It prohibits discrimination based on a person’s disability. Please read the ADA law and learn more about it. You would think 30 years would be ample time for businesses and institutions to come into compliance, but that’s not the case.
If you know the law that protects you, then you are able to stand your ground and ask for accommodations you are entitled to. We are human beings, who happen to have disabilities, and we have the same rights as anyone else.
- Talk to your employer about maintaining your accommodations even if things return to “normal” post-pandemic. If you still require additional/new/different accommodations than you currently have, speak up and make sure you’re treated fairly according to the law.
- Contact local, state and federal officials and ask that stronger penalties are put into place for those businesses and institutions who do not follow the ADA law.
- If you go to an event, and the venue is not accommodating your needs as a disabled person – speak to management. Immediately. Most people generally don’t like conflict and drawing any attention to themselves, but it’s the responsibility of each of us to speak up and demands equal treatment.
- Continue to buy masks, hand sanitizer, latex/latex-free gloves, etc… so we can do our best to protect ourselves against infections of any and all types. (*We might want to consider buying stock in face masks and hand sanitizer! :P)
Have you personally experienced discrimination because of your disability? Share that experience below, you can do so anonymously. I believe that if we share our stories with each other, we can offer encouragement to the chronic illness community as a whole.