Theo Braddy examines myths, stereotypes and assumptions about people with disabilities.
I have been a person living with a disability since the age of 15. During this time, like most, I have had many different experiences and I have encountered many different types of people. I do my best to see and treat people with value and worth, and most importantly to acknowledge their presence in any given situation. We all must feel we belong, that we exist and that people see us.
Unfortunately, it seems that people with disabilities are invisible. It has been a lifelong fight of mine to remind society that we do exist. Recently, I was reminded again in a humorous way that people with disabilities are invisible.
X-Box, Limited Motion Edition
About a year ago I found myself at Best Buy. Those who know me well know that I am a geek when it comes to electronic gadgets. So when I saw X-Box Motion I was excited. I thought, ‘for the first time, finally, a game that I could play!’ You see, this X-Box uses motion to play the different games. After X-Box scans your body, you can then use the slightest motion to play baseball, bowling and so on. I was so excited. You see as a quadriplegic I have limited motion in my arms and hands so this was a dream come true. Finally, I could beat my son in a game. (Dads, you know we think that way)
Anyway, I bought it, rushed home and hooked it up real fast, hoping I would get a chance to practice so I would be ready to really destroy my son.
X-Box Motion began the scanning process and I was still excited. I started going through the waving to activate the game but it didn't work. I must have looked really silly sitting there waving frantically. I quickly ran out of breath. So I scanned myself again but it still didn't work. I adjusted the lighting in the room. I even raised my wheelchair higher hoping it would finally see me, that it would recognize me…. Well, it never did. So then I brought my son down and guess what - it recognized him right away. When he waved his arms it worked perfectly.
Then it hit me. It was configured to recognize the “perfect” body image. It only scanned for the upright body, the perfectly working, functional body, and since that was not me, it didn't even see me.
Myth 5: The lives of people with disabilities are totally different than the lives of people without disabilities.
Reality: Wrong! Completely wrong! People with disabilities are no different. We want to do and participate in all the same things people without disabilities do. We work. We marry. We raise our kids. We go to school. We drive. We go to movies. We like to play games like X-Box Motion.
Unfortunately, we are not always seen. We are invisible so often we are not thought of but left out. We, as people with disabilities become an after-thought or, even worse, not considered at all. If I had to guess, I would say this is what happened with X-Box Motion.
I often wondered if I should have written them and suggested an upgrade that could be called, ‘X-Box, Limited Motion Edition’ (designed specifically for persons with disabilities with limited motion).
Maybe you can come up with a better name?