Thane Pullan

Thane Pullan
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Disability

I have Athetold Cerebral Palsy, I won't go into the ins and outs of it. Google it; this page is more of a personal perspective on my disability. I describe it as having faulty brain signals. The thinking section of my brain works perfectly fine, it's just signals to my body that do not communicate in the right way. This means that my movements are inaccurate and also I have almost no balance.

Being like this is normality to me, I know personally of nothing else since I was born this way. There is no need to feel sympathy for me, unless you're offering cash compensation. Seriously this is my life, and I don't feel any sense of difficulty the majority of the time. People can adjust and adapt to circumstance. In this case no adaptation was necessary because I was born like it. People walking is irrelevant to me, I don't think much about it. Why would I? I suspect most people who experience disability are like that.

If you know me, you know that I usually just mock people who patronize, it's entertaining. My thinking however has evolved. I realize that some people do not how to talk to people in wheelchairs, especially those like me who don't communicate verbally. To those people, this is one of the few occasions when I encourage people not to think. Don't think about how you should treat us. Such consideration is unnecessary. Just talk to us how you would any other person. If that doesn't work for you; use the mirror approach. How would you feel if someone started talking loudly and slowly to you? If you would find that annoying, don't do it to us.

I operate my wheelchair using my head. My headrest has switches built-in to it that I use to control my chair. I operate my computer through my eyes, knee switch and a single button on my tray as a mouse clicker. I type simply by looking at letters on my screen. I mainly use my knee switch scanning system for mouse movements, it has more precision than my eye alone, and making small movements can be faster.

There's a saying; people's attitudes can be more disabling than disabilities. I'd argue that both can be annoying at times, and to be completely honest the main drawback is the lack of people that want to have sexual relations with you. There was a study that 80% of people would not consider a sexual relationship with people who have a disability. Although let's say I manage to get by in that department. At the same time, I am practically forced not to (much) go off the rails. If I were able-bodied I could definitely see myself trying to fit in with everybody else etc. I am glad that I am who I am. I am glad that I have grown up pretty inquisitive. 2013 has also given me a renewed interest gaining knowledge and helping people, I plan to continue this attitude.
Buy my new book on disabilities
Teachings of a Grumpy Cripple: Volume 1


Copyright 2010 Thane Pullan