17 May, 2013

We Just Don't Know

Today my boss (Anna), her dad (Richard), and I were riding in the car. As Richard parked the car a disabled young man went by with his staff person and Richard recognized him from a class Anna had taken. He started waving at the man through the car window and the man stopped walking and turned to wave back at him. The young man's staff person, who was facing away from us, urged him to keep going down the street. The man tried to keep waving at Richard. The staff person, still not looking to see what the man was waving at, moved into his line of vision and tried to obstruct him from looking in our direction. He successfully got his client to stop waving and continue down the street.

Discussion questions:

1. Did the staff person assume the disabled man was not greeting a person, but just smiling and waving at nothing?

2. Or, did he just think that it was a waste of time for the man to interact with someone?

(Edit a few months later: I now know that these guys are Deaf so my impression of the situation was at least somewhat unfair--the staff person wasn't trying to obstruct his client's vision, just get where he could sign to him.)

1 comment:

  1. A week ago I asked my wannabe friend who uses a wheelchair if I could sit by her and some other questions, and her person pushing the wheelchair kept going so I had to kind of try to talk from the side where she couldn't see me while going through a crowd, and they kept rolling away until I just trailed off mid sentence. I didn't know if she had previously instructed her staff to keep going, or if she had a "keep going" hand signal that I didn't notice, but I don't think so. It was more like staff was in charge of whether this conversation was going to happen or not, and the staff didn't care/notice it, and the disabled person maybe just didn't have the experience or energy to make it clear that she wanted to stop and talk to me. I see this all the time where the quality of disabled interaction is perceived to be below some threshold, so it doesn't count and is interrupted by controlling people.