Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Happy Thanksgiving?

I wanted to write a post about how one of the things that I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving is how far people with disabilities have come. But I didn't quite get there.

Happy Thanksgiving...*sigh*

I was going to start my Thanksgiving post off with this:

"On Thanksgiving Sunday, my father and I watched "The King's Speech" together. My father told me that King George VI had a younger brother, John, who was basically kept in isolation from not only the public, but from the family's day-to-day life because of epilepsy and perhaps autism.  His mother visited him often, and he had a cottage and a full staff of his own, but he was kept out of the public eye and court life because he was "different". Segregating a child from the public eye that way seems as alien an approach to dealing with disability to me as shutting a child with a disability in an institution and forgetting that they exist...or, as a health care professional, suggesting to parents that it's in everyone's best interest to do that."

I wanted to suggest, in my Happy Thanksgiving post,  that we've come oh-so-far since then, with so much success in closing institutions and people with disabilities being treated so much better by the medical community. But then I remembered the posts that I've written about discrimination in granting organ transplants, the attitude that some of the medical establishment holds that babies with Down's Syndrome should be aborted or denied life-saving treatment after birth, and the recent story out of England about the man with an intellectual disability who found a DNR that he'd not consented to in his suitcase when he returned home from a hospital. I remembered the conversations that I've had with colleagues about how group homes are really just little institutions, where abuse can happen just as easily as it did in the larger ones that people fought so hard to close.

I remembered that for several years after my stroke, there wasn't a truly accessible restaurant in my town, and that legislation mandating that government buildings become accessible in my province was enacted only in 2005. Right now, an overhaul of the main street in my town has the sidewalks torn up on both sides, making passage practically impossible for anyone using a manual wheelchair and difficult for anyone with any sort of mobility or balance disability. No one thought of this, apparently, or cared enough in their hurry to get the job done to consider that they should only tear up one side of the street at the time.

I remembered that Henry Miles Frost has been petitioning since before school started to go to the school that's just down the street from him instead of a special school somewhere else. Despite all of the people that stand with Henry, the school board won't be convinced. http://www.facebook.com/IStandWithHenry?fref=ts

I remembered Britain, and how people with disabilities have been struggling there the past year as their benefits have been slashed.

What do you do when it's difficult to remember the positives?

Happy Thanksgiving. Sorry I'm late...

By the way, Prince John died when he was 13. This blog post talks about his story in more detail: http://www.sockitmama.com/2011/04


  1. There's a really beautiful Stephen Poliokoff television drama about the life of Prince John called "The Lost Prince". I have no idea if you'll be able to track it down but if you could without spending a fortune, it's well worth a watch.

  2. I actually read about "The Lost Prince" when I was looking for information about Prince John, and I resolved immediately to find it somehow...I haven't had a chance today to see if I can find it on ebay or Amazon at a reasonable price, but I fully intend on looking. Thanks for the suggestion, Goldfish...nice to see you! :)

  3. Great post, Sarah! We have come far but no where near far enough! ..."and miles to go before I sleep (R Frost).
    On the other hand, while you Canadians are partaking in Thanksgiving, we .Americans, on the very same day, celebrate the infamous Columbus Day, a national holiday. We commemorate that in 1492, Columbus, and his horde of thieves, discovered and landed in Americas, stole land from the Native Americans, raped their women, captured and enslaved their children, killed the menfolk and stole their stores of food and other goods and replaced the connection to spirit, nature and gaia with the hideous practice of Christianity. We are celebrating the decimation of a beautiful culture. Really, really sad...and we repeat the Thanksgiving myth again at the end of November. How quickly people forget our sin! Thanks for the space to rant!! Regards!