Differently Abled?…….NO!

“People who are differently abled….” This is something that I have heard more and more. All I have to say is NO! How is this something that is ok to call people who have disabilities. Some might be comfortable with this label but please never call me differently abled.

The only reason I would be differently abled from you is if it is not accessible and then that is not my fault. i am more than able to do what you do. I work full time, I have three children, I snowboard, I golf, I hike, I cry, I laugh, I live my life, I have opinions that are unpopular, I get sad, I get angry. Tell me how that is any different than anyone else.

Ashley and her 1st guide dog yellow lab Rick standing at the lodge at a ski hill while Ashley holds her snowboard.

I may be blind but that is like you having brown hair and me having blond. It is a trait but it certainly does not affect my ability to do things. I am capable and do live a very full life. When the world around me is set up so that it is not EQUAL TO ALL that creates barriers but my abilities DO NOT create barriers.

Ashley with the contestants of the Miss Canada Pagent.

When society thinks that I am not as capable that creates barriers but my actual skills and abilities far outstretch what society says I am capable of. I am not one to stand and shout out my accomplishments but if we look at the last 5 years I have done some pretty amazing things.

I have been named one of the future 40 under 40 in Saskatchewan, I have completed my Certified Management Degree, I have reached more than 1 million people through this blog, I have had hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, I have spoken at many different events, I was named as a Women of Change in Saskatchewan on International Women’s Day. I was a judge in a beauty pagent, I ran in a provincial election, I was nominated as a YWCA Woman of Distinction. I am raising three amazing children!

Ashley and her current guide dog black lab golden cross Danson sitting looking at each other during training.

These are just a few of the things I have accomplished because I am a smart, strong, independent woman. I have the ability to achieve whatever I set out to achieve, without the limits of what a label like “Differently Abled” place on those with disabilities. A barrier that society has placed on me not a barrier that is actually there.

When I advocate I am not advocating for special treatment or for more than what others get, I am advocating and demanding EQUAL ACCESS to the world we live in.

Ashley and Danson lay on the grass in the park smiling at the camera. Danson is wearing his guide dog harness. Ashley is wearing a blue blouse with a black blazer and sunglasses.

Never underestimate my abilities and call me differently abled!

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Danson

One thought on “Differently Abled?…….NO!

  1. Douglas

    So I want to start with a bit of feedback. I am unsure if you are aware or not, but your advertisements throughout the body of your blog, only read as “advertisement” & “report advertisement”. This is not very “ACCESSIBLE”. You might want to look into this, as the irony is rather real. As for the part regarding touching technology, I agree this is difficult but not something we cannot overcome. There are many device reviews on youtube, tons of review articles within various websites and blogs, as well as a massive social media platform where we can ask our friends, family, and other blind and partially sighted peers. OH MY GOD, right? Now, is this maybe an inconvenience? yes, it really is, but like i said, nothing we cannot overcome.
    I want to first off say that if there are denial of access situations because of COVID-19 resulting from you having a guide dog, this is an absolute massive idiotic and obscene occurrence. That being said, I am very curious to know where and when these denials have been occurring? Is this resulting from experience?
    Now for what has really fired me past the point of boiling. YOU AS A “BLIND INDIVIDUAL” DO NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM HAVE TO TOUCH EVERY SINGLE ITEM… As an adult, who is required to be independent, you are expected to have an idea where items may be on a shelf, which minimizes the amount of items you may touch. I do not know any blind or partially sighted person who touches everything on a shelf when lookin for items. If you feel as if you need to touch everything on a shelf to find your item, have you considered curbside pick up or online ordering? I know personally, I have decided to start using the customer service desk to request assistance, so I end up touching less items. Should staff have talked to you directly? Yes, Should you have spoke up and said something to them? Even more yes. You are not a victim here, you are an individual who could have easily minimized exposure to hundreds of people, but you chose to touch those items, which could be placing hundreds of people at risk of contracting COVID-19. We as visually impaired people, can not be playing the victim role here, but rather advocating, and acting in a manner of hwich is appropriate for the current situation.
    The accessibility since the start of COVID-19 has changed our lives and how we function each day. It however, has not gotten worse, it has just changed, where we notice accessibility issues in a different way. Just some food for thought.


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