We all know that being handicap is not only a physical thing. There are many causes of a handicap, whether it is mental, physical or due to an illness. I wish to explore a difficulty arising from a physical handicap, however, not in the sense that most would think about.
A boy is paralyzed at birth. He will never walk or feed himself. He grows up not being able to dress himself. He goes to school and has services that help him complete his classes. He has gotten used to being dependent on others for things we take for granted. He graduates high school and has earned scholarships for college.
This boy has grown into a man; a man with an idea and something to give to the world. This is where the problem lies. He has never needed to learn to walk, so all his efforts went to brain power. A brilliant man with something to offer, but he can’t.
Why? The answer is that a college is set up with handicap accessibility, but only in the sense of entry to a building or to get to the next floor. A college may even have someone that will be able to get him in and out of his chair and help him dress in the dorm. There is one major element missing. How can he take a test? How can he show a presentation?
A college will not provide in class support for these tasks. He would need to hire an expensive aide just to attend. So I implore you to think on this, a building may have buttons to let him in and an elevator to take him to the next level, but the education itself is not accessible. This man does not have a job and does not have a rich family to support hiring an aide.
A college will read books onto tape for those that need it, but will not supply a pair of hands to fill in the test questions. A scholarship was lost because of this and that was a hard and well earned scholarship.
Fancy buttons, elevators and ramps, and a large spot in the parking lot do not make a place completely handicap accessible. Education should be accessible to all and a brilliant mind is a terrible thing to waste. A boy that grew into a man, with a lot to offer, sits frustrated at society’s inability to allow him to move forward; to contribute his gift to the world.
This is a fresh view into handicap accessibility. All avenues that were explored for assistance in this have been thwarted. This man has been given one option to a college education; hire an aide he cannot afford. He will not give up and hopefully, education, college and peace of mind will become available to many more due to his efforts. There is faith he will prevail and we be a better society for it.