The arena of disability

Mike LeCompte CPF

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Jul 20, 2005
Knoxville TN
In another thread -- I've been sued -- we're discussing an attorney who's suing JRB for being in violation of ADA laws.

thought I might provide some insight into the disability community since our 14-yr old has multiple disabilities, is in a wheelchair, and has a canine assistant

1) Most families with a child with disability are divorced. The divorce rate is around 80% for these families, the highest segment of the population

2) Unemployment for a person with disabilities is about 75% which means most live in SSI--Social Security Supplemental Income--which is pretty meager at best.

3) There are many activist groups for people with disabilities and their families. Many are VERY vocal--read "angry"--and feel it's an "us vs. them" situation,

4) Many good people exist, kind, gentle compassionate people, with disabilities of all sorts.

5) Many not-so-good people exist who are angry, in-your-face people who see themselves as forgotten, lost, out of the mainstream

6) Many store/retail owners and people n general are compassionate and understanding; some aren't. Some see my son's canine assistant as a "dog" not to be allowed in their store. Othes see him as an assistant, knowing about 40 commands and quite obedient and "gentlemanly" in retail and restaurant setting.

7) People with disabilities are sometimes stared at, pointed at often ignored or made to feel like they are inferior to the rest of the population.

My wife and I serve on several boards for several non-profits concerning disabilities. On these boards are people with disabilities and "typical" people. We all come together to improve the work and living situation. However, even here, there are oftentimes those people who feel they "deserve" something better. Rightly or wrongly, I suppose they exist everywhere.

Just thought I'd chime in with viewpoints from a parent of a child with disabilities as well as one who serves time in that arena
Thank you, Mike.

There's a lot of bitterness and anger on JRB's thread (surprisingly little from JRB himself) that's misdirected toward Americans with disabilities themselves.

There will always be lawyers who will take advantage of a law for their own gain. That doesn't mean the law itself is evil and it certainly says nothing of the sort about those it was intended to protect.
"My wife and I serve on several boards for several non-profits concerning disabilities"

the salt in the wound here is's NOT about the disabilities, or the accompaning problems/solutions, it's that some(1 or MORE) scumbags are doing this "FOR PROFIT", purely & simply! the *^&$%$#&*'s in FLA were at the point where they didnt even actually bother to visit the places they sued, didnt care whether they were the property owners(let us just go out & sue SOMEBODY!) or not(in which case they arent even responsible for the situation & can probably DO nothing about it, but we beings ued nontheless), and(my opinion) and didnt care if anything was resolved(other than hope it isnt fix..we can do it again next year)...... totally selfserving..........dont I remember something being written about going to **** & bearing false witness????? maybe I disremember?
Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
Thank you, Mike.

There's a lot of bitterness and anger on JRB's thread (surprisingly little from JRB himself) that's misdirected toward Americans with disabilities themselves.


I don't agree with that.

I'd venture to say that all the hostility on that thread was directed toward that lawyer who used the disabled person for his own gain.

If anybody criticized the disabled person, I guess they were wondering how on earth the blind woman was driving!
My Uncle was 76 yesterday. He has been in a wheelchair his entire life. The stories he tells regarding how he has been treated over the years are shocking.
Perhaps somethings are changing and will improve as babyboomers become a more disabled group. Imagine what will happen when ADA and AARP get together!
The biggest problem people seem to make with my uncle is assuming that because he is in a wheel chair that he is also not smart and doesn't have resources.
He has written several books and helped many people in his lifetime. He was a phycologist at a VA hospital most of his career.
I only began to have a tiny bit of understanding regarding mobility when I was in a wheel chair for a couple weeks myself. Heck anyone that has tried to get around with a baby stroller can tell you how difficult it is to move around some communities.
Perhaps Ellen needs to teach us all a little bit more about the dogs that she trains. I had no idea just how helpful they can be until going to a talk about these very special animals.
Maybe gallery owners and picture framers need to think ahead of the curve, become compliant with accessability issues AND PROMOTE it.

O.K. stepping off of my marketing soap box now.

As my uncle always has, his entire life, Make lemonade from those lemons.

Bill: more to the point is that there are those in both the law and medical fields who are more than ready and willing to profit from the anger/sorrow/emotional state of some with disabilities.

I stated on the other thread that, yes, sometimes and some places son and dog are not accepted or welcome. Instead of yelling "lawsuit" we just smile and take our business elsewhere.

It is important for us as a family to remember that (1) we often represent the community of those with disabilities and (2) people ARE watching us and our behavior and how we react to certain situations. SO we just smile, say "i'm sorry you feel that way" and move on.
Mike, I can't even come close to imagining what life is like for the disabled.

On the other thread about JRB's situation I don't think there is anything against the disabled, but against the lawyer that is using the system and the system not having a stopgap way of dealing with non-compliant situations of businesses. There needs to be something in place to allow for reasonable ability to comply especially if it is without intent to not comply! John thought he was in compliance.

And I just had the thought "How compliant are you"? Is that like asking "How pregnant are you" - either you are or you are not. But we all have to provide the measures for the disabled to visit our businesses. My location offers that and my initial advertising stated that fact.

recently while at a fair I was spouting off about how great we are and all that. A little pr stuff. abd soe lady in a wheel chair asked if we had a disability ramp. I could tell by the tone of her voice she was angry and expted to hear "no"..So you can imnagine how surprised she was when she heard that. The she asked if it was clear..I said I just shoveled it off this morning. Not my job but I like to keep it clean and cleared at all times..She never showed up! I have no clue what the moral of this story is. Just to say I have a wheel chair (disablitlty ramp with wide store doors ) Has not done me ( sales wise )much good as of yet. I do get a lot of ersonal satisfaction out of it though..for whatever thats worth.
Mike-I'm sure you notice that the vast majority of folks will do everything possible to help those in need-many go out of their way

I am always amazed how effortlessly that "compassion" comes forward

Since I am not quite as spry as I used to be, I always appreciate that "extra" effort. For me, it's very easy to overlook that physical barrier when the "intent and kindness" is there

Nobody needs a law to be considerate of another's needs

I'm sure you see that even more often than I

But, it drives me "bonkers" when that common sense courtesy is ignored

Thankfully, it is very rare, indeed
I have to chime in here.

For the past 3 months, I've been a handicapped person. Because of my hips, my legs don't work well, and I have to use a cane to get around. Albeit, it isn't a wheelchair, but simply walking gets difficult. Very small steps turn into huge ones, and sometimes impossible for me to step up and I have to use the ramp. Getting in and out of my car (yes, I can still drive, no clutch and my foot works fine, I cleared it with my Dr, and DMV) is excruciating. I've had to get a special toilet adapter, raised and with arms, since I don't have a rail at home. If a public restroom doesn't have rails, I can't use it, I'll get stuck on there.

I am furtunate, this is only temporary. Most folks with disabilities are permanent, or much worse off than I am right now.

My point is, since I've been this way, I've experienced the most incredible kindness and help from total strangers. I did call a business and ask them to please not put their tiny little flyers on handicapped parking cars' windshields, as we usually don't see them until we've taken 10 minutes to get in, and then have to get out to remove them. She apologized, said she'd never thought of that (neither had I!). Folks have helped me with doors, with my groceries, the manager herself at Penny's walked all over the store to find me a certain type of pants, while I waited, and then carried my purchases to the register, and then out to my car. Not once have I found anyone to be less than compassionate, helpful and kind, and I've never had to ask, they just appear.

I'm sure, if I was like this long enough, I would experience some not-so-understanding situations, but I have a whole new respect and outlook on what handicapped people have to endure. The simplest things (putting on my socks, carrying anything, one hand's on that cane) become hugely difficult, and sometimes impossible, tasks.

And my hat's off to the families. They go through, as caregivers, an entire life that most of us are not aware of. Right Mike?? Just ask my husband, who puts my socks on for me and holds me when I'm in so much pain and crying my heart out.

The attorney that's doing the evil stuff will get what he deserves later on, what goes around comes around. I would never wish being handicapped on any human being, but I don't consider this man to be one.

My 3-cents worth.