What do you want? Part one

I had to special order the new device, which needs to be ordered by the company, adapted, then shipped to me. In the process of ironing out some technical details, the following sentence appeared in Turning Point’s e-mail: “Please let me know what you want, and we will try to accommodate.” And I sat there staring at my computer, surprised out of all proportion. And now I’m dictating with a lump in my throat.

I have things to say about that sentence. I can’t say all of them now. But I can say this: it hit me harder than it should have. Someone, a manufacturer no less, said that I’m allowed to want something out of the assistive tech that allows me to work and communicate. That I’m allowed to have personal preferences. An opinion. A sentence like that is all too rare where I come from, in several ways. I know I don’t need permission to have an opinion, but in this context ā€“ where assistive tech companies usually aren’t accustomed to dealing with self advocates ā€“ it matters. It shouldn’t be so rare for a company to say that. It shouldn’t be rare that a company actually actively solicits end user input, particularly from adults. But it is, hence the grateful lump in my throat.

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2 Responses to What do you want? Part one

  1. Yes … I think I do get why you got that lump in your throat. Too often, people with disabilities confront this attitude (and not just from manufacturers) that we are “creating trouble” and “being a nuisance” and being rude and pushy and selfish and fussy and nitpicky and demanding by explaining that, although we have the same essential needs as everyone else (for food, for water, shelter, for clothing, for access to information and communication and services), we do need to receive it in a different WAY. When you get hit with that attitude all the time, it can get so demoralizing … you start to forget that, yes, we DO still have a right to access the same services as everyone else. And when others complain that we are being fussy and demanding? Often that says more about them than it does about us. Often the things we’re asking for really only requires a minor adjustment on the part of providing the services — a minor minor adjustment that can make a world of difference for us. So–not actually as demanding as some people may try to claim when they begin to mistake their privileged ability to keep on doing business as usual for an entitlement and not what it really is–which is a practice that happens to exclude a whole class of people, even if it wasn’t their original intent to do that.

  2. Elisabeth says:

    We get so used to making do with what’s out there- with limited options. It’s wonderful when someone *gets it*. That’s customer service. *hugs*

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