Saturday, June 1, 2019

It’s 2019 and I’m Still Busy

How can it be June 1st? Time keeps flying by at a breakneck speed.  Like a roller coaster ride, it’s both frightening and exhilerarating!

What have I been doing for the past six months?  Well, first, mundane things, like filing my taxes and  training new employees.   It’s both time consuming and yet necessary.  Writing and replying to emails and texts is also very necessary.  It’s like playing a never ending game of Whack-a-Mole! Managing the schedule of my employees is a less intense version of that game.  So is keeping on top of my financial log and ordering in new products to sell at the market.

I am a juggler, though. It’s what I do.

I am also an advocate for people like myself who have physical and communication disabilities.  Back in April, I gave a small talk at Queens Park regarding some of my own life experiences and views…

(Because I am a non-speaking person, I need someone who can assist me with communication within many social settings, such as, but not limited to, meetings and appointments.  This is important for me because I need to have a say in my own words and to feel included. If I was a person who was Deaf, organizations would automatically pay for a sign language interpreter to be on hand. What about having a communication assistant as well?  Not everyone with a communication disability is fortunate enough to have someone who can come with them to assist them in communicating.  We need to have access to trained assistants.  We want to see that addressed in accessibility laws. People who organize meetings should ask if we need assistance with communication, just like they ask if we need sign language or attendant services. It has been my experience that not many attendant services have been taught in the complexity of communication assistance.

In March of 2018, I was a victim of disability discrimination from a company that both sells and repairs wheelchairs.  Twice, I wrote emails to the management of the company detailing the inappropriate attitudes and actions of their employees. When I received no satisfactory response, I decided to register a formal complaint to the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. I was more than a little surprised and disappointed by their response. In their email, the A.D.O. first indicated that I should handle it myself by writing to the company that had discriminated against me - even though I had explained that I had already done so!  Their second suggestion was that I should take my complaint to the Human Rights Commission. I thought that their response was extremely disappointing.  As a person with a communication disability, I lack the funding, resources and time it would take to go through the lengthy process of trying to receive help from the H.R.C. In conclusion, It is my opinion that the A.D.O. needs a more proactive system in which to handle complaints from people with disabilities, such as myself. Once a complaint is received, it should be taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible, and when the person or company is found guilty of discrimination they should be fined.  So many people are unable to register complaints of discrimination either because of physical limitations,  fear of retaliation, or frustration that their concerns won’t be taken seriously.)

I've also been extremely busy getting ready to go back to England in July for an Art Fair.  That's right, folks, I'm going back to London!!!  I think that's where I belong. And, I'm not sure why, but my art sales have been extraordinary this year!  Hopefully, I'll have the same luck at the Parallax Art Fair! 

Some people have tried to tell me to slow down because of my age. To them, I want to quote Queen, "Don't stop me now, I'm having a good time, I'm having a ball!" Keeping busy and juggling everything makes me feel alive and happy!

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