scouts-l Mail Archive for June of 2000: disABILITIES (was handicaps)
Mon Jun 05 2000 - 08:33:09 CDT
Last week, in responding to a posting requesting guidance, I committed
one of those unintentional errors which I should know better than doing
- I glossed over the use of the word "handicapped".
When I first met my wife she was working at the Hospital for Special
Surgery, in New York City. One day I went there to meet her and noticed
a well patinaed bronze plaque on the Hospital's cornerstone. The
plaque, dating from the Hospital's founding, read: "Hospital for the
Ruptured and Crippled". I'm sure there are many, somewhat similar,
plaques across the country which speak to the "Terminally Ill", or
"Mentally Incureable", etc. which have superceding plaques above them.
Some might attribute this to the advent of public relations, or
political correctness. But, I'd like to think it also reflects optimism
- we know there are now cures, or remedies, or techniques to keep at bay
the enemies to physical, mental, or emotional health.
It is the: Americans with Disabilities Act. It is BSA's change from
Handicap Awareness to Disabilities Awareness Merit Badge. It is, also,
BSA's recent publication: A Scoutmaster's Guide to Working Wth Scouts
With DisABILITIES (#33056A). It is GSUSA's: Focus on Ability (#26-802).
No matter how we capitalize that word, and irrespective of the youth we
serve, we are about enhancing ABILITIES. Old habits are hard to beat
(and all of those "Handicapped Parking" signs need changing), but we
should all (including I) be more attentive.
As a follow-up to my answer of last week I had failed to note that
outdoor activities are not so daunting to persons with disAbilities.
It's a matter of attitude and drive. At Philmont, which many consider
BSA's premier high adventure base, I have seen youth with leg braces
complete a trek, and know of Scouts who are blind climb its peaks. So,
the limits are within our minds.
Tonight (June 5, 2000) HBO will broadcast the Oscar winning documentary
October 18-29, Wemedia.com will provide live streaming video of the
18-event 2000 Paralympics from Sydney, Australia.