Two summers ago i applied for the program YP4 or Young People For. Its a youth program of the Center for American Progress which many of my young progressive friends have done. I got into the program as I knew I would, but when it came time to go to the summit it was the summer of my steady decline and I was not healthy enough to go to the event. I was then informed that because I could not make the summit, even though it was because of my declining health (I was hospitalized for part of it), I could no longer participate in the program
I complained this to my friend who had participated in the program before, and she was shocked. She said I should write to a specific person in their office about it. This person informed me that unfortunately this was their policy and they did not make exceptions.
I was furious. I thought this program was going to send me places, to get me a leg up, to get me a good job, and now I couldn’t participate in it. It really was an awful blow to an already awful summer.
The next summer, I decided to take an intensive summer program at JTS. BAD IDEA. About 3 weeks in I realized that I was WAY too sick to participate. The program ran from 7AM-6PM each day and was al ot of reading and thinking. I couldn’t even focus for one second. I had started my GP testing and had to be in the hospital for tests and appointments 3 days a week. It wasn’t possible for someone like me to do this.
We need to realize the dichotomy between healthily disabled people and unhealthily disabled people. The healthily disabled could participate in those programs no problem. They can do exactly what anyone else can do, but they’re disabled. The unhealthily disabled however, cannot. They have limits, they have pain, they are on meds, and they get sick. We need to make our programs and achieving independence more accessible for people who are sick. People who need a ton of rest, people who need more time to complete tasks, people who are bedbound, and people who are going through a medical crisis.
Until we do this we cannot truly say that we are living an in accessible society that is inclusive to people with all types of disabilities. We just cannot.