Making Accessibility Part of My Home
July 4, 2023 5:58 PM   Subscribe

The sweet vulnerability of creating an accessible home with the person you love and the tenderness towards yourself it requires “That’s how I feel about anyone seeing proof of my disabilities before I’ve wrapped my head around the fact of the disabilities: like I’ve reached a fragile peace with it, and any harsh comment, any misguided sentiment, any gawking could wreck my growing understanding and acceptance of how much I’ve changed.” (Happy Disability Pride Month!)
posted by Bottlecap (17 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
posted by bendy at 7:32 PM on July 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

Happy Disability Pride month! Thanks for sharing, I love Heather’s writing.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:18 AM on July 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

This is a great article, thank you for posting it.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:30 AM on July 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

Thanks for sharing this - I liked it a lot. The specific ways in which disability manifests in my home are different but I can certainly relate to much of what's here about how a third party would see it, how the photos get framed, etc. I really appreciated reading this.
posted by Stacey at 8:29 AM on July 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

I thought this was lovely, and I'm glad the author is coming to accept her identity as a disabled person.

I will say, though, that many disabled people in the U.S. do not even have the resources to acquire a high-quality, well designed shower chair because the social safety net which provides the services that they need forces them to live under shockingly low income and asset limits. In many states, these limits prevent disabled people from marrying because their spouse's income will be counted against them, for instance.

Disability pride is wonderful and joyous; overcoming internalized ableism is life-long and important; these stories need to be told and I'm glad that they are. But also: policy change.
posted by gauche at 8:33 AM on July 5, 2023 [7 favorites]

I wholeheartedly encourage you to make a post about that if you would like to have that conversation sooner than I am getting there. But it is a derail on this post. Additionally, I can tell you that having recently shopped for shower stools the one pictured in the article is a full $200 less than the one I ended up needing.

Disabled people deserve to have nice things and not feel bad about it. We deserve to use our money without having our purchases scrutinized. Even those of us who have no income, like me.
posted by Bottlecap at 8:52 AM on July 5, 2023 [4 favorites]

policy change.

Needs to be stressed constantly, glad that this was mentioned.

This essay was wonderful, I'm grateful to the author for sharing her story.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:54 AM on July 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

Disabled people deserve to have nice things and not feel bad about it.

FWIW, I don't think that was the intent of that comment, I read it as support for both the author (in having nice things, and in being able to afford them) and also as raising awareness that current US policy actually prevents many disabled people from being able to afford the good (or best) versions of things, equipment, aids, anything that will assist them in daily life, if they are to receive any benefits at all--and that this is terrible. Our policies intended to help and improve the lives of disabled people should not also force them to be poor; also, no disabled person (regardless of income) should ever be shamed for having nice things.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:04 AM on July 5, 2023 [5 favorites]

This is somewhat off-topic relative to the essay itself, but it's where my brain went with the title. I am currently planning to move in with a roommate in November. Our house discord (consisting of the two of us) has an accessibility channel. It's definitely empowering in a way I haven't really experienced before to be able to say "if we did X, my life would probably be a lot easier". Granted, this has led to us deciding that clearly the thing that will enable us to keep up with household tasks is one of those library due date stamps that makes an extremely satisfying clunk. This is probably not actually the case, but "what can we do with a label maker" was a good conversation.
posted by hoyland at 9:06 AM on July 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

I'm going to be straight forward - it honestly does feel like exactly the pull quote from the article for me. Hey I'm going to venture into talking about some of the aspects of disability that aren't policy (turns out my very first post this month was about policy!) and about how vulnerable and squishy that is and how we exist within our homes and what it's like to think about PERSONAL accessibility and to have someone come in and say "yeah well but have you considered that disabled people are poor and can't get married???" breaks that fragile peace I am building with talking about disability in a vulnerable and kind and sweet way. It's like "Put your walls back up! There's only one thing that matters! And that's suffering!"

Which is why I invite you to make your own post. I may or may not continue making posts for this month.
posted by Bottlecap at 10:37 AM on July 5, 2023 [10 favorites]

I love the story about the kitchen chairs. I'm tearing up now, thinking about it. Thank you for posting.
posted by tuesdayschild at 12:17 PM on July 5, 2023 [5 favorites]

I love the story about the kitchen chairs. I'm tearing up now, thinking about it. Thank you for posting.

That was an exceptionally sweet part of the story. And, it's yet another reminder of how making things accessible makes things better for everyone -- in this case, even the cats benefit, along with anyone who might want to sit comfortably while chatting in the kitchen.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:45 PM on July 5, 2023 [3 favorites]

Identified with taking photos from just such an angle so as not to show my (growing collection of) disability equipment.
posted by fruitslinger at 2:43 PM on July 5, 2023

I'm disabled, but not too bad, yet. Just moved into a house with an elevator shaft. It's 3 stories plus basement. I've several friends who are chair-bound. I'm hoping to make the entrance and 3rd floor bed/bath accessible. An easy rise from curb to door. Beautiful civil war era house.
posted by Goofyy at 5:11 PM on July 5, 2023

I think all the time about what I need to do to age in place in this house (it's pier and beam so there will have to be ramps, for instance). This touched me on a personal level.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 5:44 PM on July 5, 2023

I definitely noticed the art in the pictures before the disability aids. And when I did notice them, they just looked normal, since I have many of them too (though no room in my bathroom for a stool so I sit on the edge of the bath instead). I still have a way to go in accepting my disabilities, and this article helped. Thank you for sharing it.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:36 AM on July 6, 2023 [4 favorites]

I have a relatively new and somewhat weird disability and am dealing with making my house accessible. Thanks for posting, but I'm gonna have to gather some fortitude before I read that link. Denial isn't super productive, but it is comfortable.
posted by nixxon at 3:29 PM on July 6, 2023 [2 favorites]

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