Making life better in disadvantaged communities - our thoughts on everything - from Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
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Do you think the problems for people with disabilities are different in different places or the same everywhere?
I think they probably differ in different places. Where I live (in Santa Monica, right next to Los Angeles), I think a big issue is transportation. If you can't drive a car because you have a disability, you are going to have a very hard time getting anywhere. Our public transportation system is not very good. If you live in a low-income area there may be very few jobs near you and it can be really hard to get to the jobs that do exist. My friend is blind and she uses a para transit service and they are HORRIBLE. I don't know how many times I have waited with her for a half-hour or more because they were late or just driven her home because they never showed up at all.
I too believe that the problems are different depending on the environment. I live on a reservation where there are limited resources for people with disabilities. We do offer services for children through the Spirit Lake Head Start program and the special education program at Four Winds Elementary School. We also have programs like the Vocational Rehabilitation Program that help adults with disabilities find jobs. These services are fine but I think there should be support groups for people with disabilities where they can go and meet other people who have disabilities and share their life experiences. There are not many children with disabilities around here so it is not uncommon to hear children teasing or laughing at another child who has a physical disability. A support group for children around here could help build their self-esteem by providing activities and games that they could play with other children that have disabilities. Many children come from low-income families. The parents might not know anything about disablities or where to get services here on the reservation.
I live in a big city (Boston) and from what I have noticed, accommodations for people with disabilities are pretty good here. The public transportation is excellent and the subway drivers go out of their way to stick their head out of the windows and let people in wheelchairs have more time to get on. I have seen a lot of handicapped people using the transportation here. There are handicapped assigned seats, ramps, etc. I also just attended a graduation at a private college and they had someone on the stage performing sign language - something I have never seen at a graduation before. I think, with the exception of LA's terrible public transportation, big cities are more apt to have accommodations for disabled people.
public transportation here (San Francisco) is actually incredibly accommodating
there are two different train systems (MUNI and BART), and a reasonably dependable bus system as well
also my school (San Francisco State University) has shuttles that take students to the closest train stations which makes it particularly convenient
the discount given for disabilities is very large ($10 for a one month pass as opposed to $45)
so yes, as far as this city goes public transportation does go above and beyond terrific
i previously lived in Los Angeles though, where the buses were slow and infrequent, and the one rail system was inconvenient and poorly placed.
in fact it was so poor that i used very little and cannot give a great deal of information about its accommodations for the disabled
That's nice to hear. As for smaller communities the main obstacle that seems to block these services is money. And placing the need for these services for people with disabilities as a priority. Apparently, they have a very active and verbal disability group in these larger cities. Also, they maybe policians who know of people or have family members who can benefit from transportation, or othe services.
As it is with our small community and on a reservation as well, we are lucky enough that a grant was put together to pay for public transportation, includuing putting a lift on a van. So things are improving. We as disabled people need to keep these issues and others alike in focus and let our politicians know how important they are.
Thanks, for the great news from your neck of the woods (skyscappers) Jessica.
Last edited by Willie (2007-05-20 01:13:30)