They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.’ By Carl. W. Buechner
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS DISCRIMINATION?
- If an individual is treated less favorably than someone else would have been treated in a similar situation.
- If this experience ocurred when an individual was employed or applying for a job.
- If this occurred when he/she was out shopping, going to school of college, or searching for accommodation.
- If one is treated differently, does that necessarily mean discrimination? Not always. An employer may refuse to give work to a person incapabe of doing the job.
THIS IS HOW I SEE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS OR A PHYSICAL DISABILITY:
- An employer dismissed an employee while he was on sick leave after discovering that his employee was suffering from a mental illness. He only issued the dismissal letter when he found out about the mental illness diagnosis.
- A prospective employee was unable to get to work on time, so his employer agreed that he could work from 10 am until 4:00 p.m. but, when he discovered that this young man was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, his salary was reduced, even though he was doing the job he was employed to do. That was our son during one of the stages when he was able to hold down a job.
Judith E. Heumann, US State Department Special Adviser for Disability Rights, travels the glove to get across to people the need to develop US foreign policy vis-a-vis people with disabilities. The 64-year-old Brooklyn born woman advocates for the righs of disabled people and pushes for wider social inclusion for them. She also leads by example and despite her own disability she makes sure to go out into the field and hear from as many people as possible. She has been in a wheelchair most of her life due to contracting polio as a child. She endured a legal battle to become the first person in a wheelchair to teach in New York City. The new attitude to disability is to move toward inclusion and equality for people with disabilites and the old way is to try and protect disabled people and not allow them to live independently in the community.
She stresses that some countries have excellent disability laws that are not always implemented. Outdated social attitudes toward disabled people need adddressing, including early inervention and integrated education.