This piece is the product of a study done by Marchak and other researchers in an attempt to understand why disabled students do not take advantage of the disability services and accommodations in place for them. This study focused on five key groups: identity issues, desires to avoid negative social reactions, insufficient knowledge, perceived quality and usefulness of services, and negative experiences. The qualitative research data came from student’s with disabilities on campus. There thoughts and experiences shed light on what should be done to make college campuses more accessible to students with disabilities.
A response in which a graduate student criticized a disabled student’s use of accommodations. They did this because they themselves were disabled and they did not make use of them; therefore; they concluded that accommodations were unnecessary. I believe this incident highlights the mass misunderstanding of disability and the necessity of disability accommodations. Even within the disabled community, there is microaggression and confusion aimed at disabled people, questions regarding the legitimacy of their condition. This speaks to the importance of a informing the masses of why accommodations are needed. These examples also make me question how much Purdue staff and faculty know about the accommodations that disabled people are entitled to.
Christine Miserandino was out with a best friend having a late night dinner when her friend asked an unexpected question: what does it feel like to have Lupus and be sick? She tried to explain it in literal terms and the answers didn’t seem to please her friend. To explain her disability, she took spoons from a table and told her that with every action you take a spoon is used. The disabled do not have an unlimited amount of spoons like those without a disability. The friend soon realized how difficult disability is.
The Spoons Theory is an incredibly simple and effective way to explain disability. It connects with those without disabilities because it is a physical representation that they can see before their very eyes. While the best friend was understanding of her friend’s condition, she was far from understanding it. It is hard to describe an emotion or a feeling that has never been felt. Christine saw this and sought to present the evidence before her very eyes.
Like I said before, taking a spoon away is a physical representation of disability. The participant losses precious spoons for mundane tasks like putting on a shirt. Suddenly, the ability to dress up is much more appreciated and the struggle that disabled folks become much more real. It is important for those without a disability to attempt to understand what disability is and how it can affect us. When there is no attempt to understand another person’s disadvantage, whether is a disability or not, empathy is lost. If empathy is lost than things like discrimination and cultural divides become possible. In order for society to make progress together, it needs to understand each other.