Created by and for people with physical disabilities.
Usually about twice a year we have students who come into the room and ask for volunteers to answer some sociology/disability related questions. Most of them are in training to be doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors and a few are training to be engineers in disability related fields like mechanical prosthetics both external and internal or other technologies that specifically benefit we the disabled.
College and university students who enter as part of an assignment must clearly announce that fact and must disclose the name of the school and class their assignment is for.
Suggestions to Students
Try to avoid condescending statements like "I'm here to make friends with disabled people." We will see through this and you will probably be met with warranted hostility. You're here for your assignment but the reality is that when the assignment is over, we will never hear from you again. That is perfectly fine.
Please keep in mind that the backgrounds of our members vary widely. Some of us have physical impairments and some have intellectual impairments and others may have both. Some of us have a basic education but many of us have PhD's and masters and longtime careers as doctors, lawyers, engineers, military, nursing, etc. As long as you're honest with your intentions, we will respect your lack of experience and do our best to help you learn.
As expected, each time the students start appearing, a good portion of the room is more than happy to help out, but a small portion pretty much throws an fit citing irrational fears of being treated like “lab rats” or being groomed by devotees and perverts (same thing.)
Basically, the level of resentment is inversely proportional to the level of care needed by the person. The more physical personal/intimate level care a person requires, the more they are willing to help a student. These are the very people who are acutely aware of the dangers presented by improperly trained and insensitive people being in control of every aspect of their activities of daily life.
On the flip side, people who require little or no direct assistance in their ADL’s are the loudest against educating students. They feel that students should be able to learn everything from teachers and books and that allowing them to talk to real persons with disabilities is counterproductive and dangerous. No, I am not joking. They really do believe this. They obviously don’t know what it’s like to have catheters pulled, prosthetics damaged or requiring (and sometimes having to beg for) some other improperly trained person to feed them, bathe them and wipe their ass every day until the day they die. They have never been yelled at or hit by a caregiver for having a spasm or a seizure.
To those who claim that it is not possible to distinguish the difference between devotees/perverts and students, I’m at a total loss. Students always say they are students. Perverts don’t. The questions and conversations are also quite different. Let’s give a few examples.
I'm sorry but if you can’t tell the difference between the two then chat rooms or even going out in public is not the thing for you.
Students are welcome. They always have been and they always will be. If you disagree then I feel sorry for you if you ever need help from them some day when they are your doctor, nurse, therapist or caregiver.
If you do not want to answer a student’s questions, that is your right. Exercise that right by being silent.