|people with disabilities||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: BERWIN (BERWINdelphi.com)|
|Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 11:38:23 -0500|
It seems that cohousing is the perfect place for people with disabilities. And I want to say from the start here that I hate using that general term "disabilities, " lumping everyone in the same boat. I'll be more specific but at the same time I want to keep the post short. It just seems that cohousing is the perfect place for people with limited mobility, people in wheel chairs, people suffering from chronic pain who face days when they can accomplish nothing. Yet I've become rather pessimistic about cohousing as it is evolving at the moment being very friendly to the disabled. And what I'm referring to here isn't the people but the community activities. For example as one with limited mobility everytime I read the word "sweat equity" I kind of cringe. It may save alot of money but rules out many with problems, myself included. The organic gardens, wonderful as they are, pose huge blocks to someonw with limited mobility. Meal preparation participation can be another difficulity. Due to spine problems, for me to be one of even four people preparing a meal for thirty seems overwhelming. I can peel carrots for four but beyond that I'm in too much pain. Peeling carrots takes strength and pull on the neck and upper vertebrae even with the best of peelers! You might say that there are other committees the disabled could be on, perhaps computer related, more sedentary work, but is that fair to others, more abled who also don't want to do lots of physical work? I think many of the above problems could be avoided if there were disabled people in some of the core groups, by this I mean that several of the original developers, organizers, are disabled themselves. Also there would be initial input by people with limitations on the meal preparation. For example how big of a deal must the meals be? Instead of the dinners being made by a few for the large number how about the entire group doing some big cooking and then freezing it, then each person would have a minimum amount of work to handle. I could probably pull my share if fifteen people are making a huge stew to freeze. And what about sandwiches and soup, or ordering out pizza. I've also a hunch that if people with disabilities are in the core group then the direction of that cohousing itself might change. Perhaps a computer center might develop, or a serious craft center, the kitchen might be designed entirely differently. Instead of community being developed by working together cooking or gardening or building, closeness might develop through developing a really neat web site--just one idea off the top of my head. Of course this can all come about in a cohousing in which the core are all pretty much abled, but the degree of concsiousness raising about the nature of specific disabilities seems overwhelm- ing. Someone else on this list wrote a really good message about that. I'm still thinking about this, will probably write more later. Leah
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