Have the Paralympic Games changed your thinking on ability/disability?

(18 Posts)
PurpleAndPoppyWearer Wed 05-Sep-12 21:15:10

I have realised that I could be a Paralympian because...
<sets aside complete absence of sporting talent>
...I have Asperger's. Learning disabilities were allowed in this Paralympics.

I was watching the Paralympics the other day and one of the GB medallists had Asperger's. That has really made me think differently about the Paralympians. They are not "them" any more, not to me. A barrier in my brain has come down. Disabled/able is not black and white anymore in my head. Does that make sense?

Look at Sarah Storey. She doesn't have a left hand, due to the umbilical cord getting tangled around her arm in the womb. That could happen to any of us, to any of our children, it's a quirk of nature. She has three gold medals at this Paralympics. And Ellie Simmonds....what a gal!

And I love, love, love "The Last Leg" on Channel 4 and the absence of political correctness.

Does anyone else feel the same? Sorry, I know I'm not expressing this very well, I'm trying to be as PC as possible, I just haven't had much contact with anyone with physical or mental ability challenges before, at least not since school, and it has been a real watershed in my thinking.

(Please be kind with your responses, I do know I haven't expressed this very well and don't mean to offend.)

BlackberryIce Wed 05-Sep-12 21:18:22

That was Jessica Jane Applegate? Just 16 with ASD

I had a thread. But not many posted on it. My dc were cheering her on. Fantastic

CMOTDibbler Wed 05-Sep-12 21:20:23

No, not really. But sitting watching the grade 4 paradressage, my ds said 'look mummy, that lady is just like you'. And she was - wonky arm, sitting on horse, wonky arm as result of accident. Except my dressage is nowhere near as good unsuprisingly. But for a bit, I fitted in

bisjaralympics Wed 05-Sep-12 21:21:28

I've been to quite a few Paralympic sessions and have been surprised at how I don't really notice the disability but instead am in awe of what the sportsman and women can achieve.

I love the Last Leg too. Very very funny and completely non-PC.

Potol Wed 05-Sep-12 21:29:53

It has. Mainly because I have never watched the Paralympics so closely before despite being a huge sports fan. My father is disabled and was visiting me in the UK for a few weeks and he has been mesmerised by it. Where he lives is entirely disabled unfriendly, so he has never been able to drive a car etc. (developing country so most places are not even wheelchair friendly). I have learnt a lot about disabilities per se, how athletes compensate/make adjustments, eg how does a single arm amputee compensate for the loss of balance while running the curve in the 200 metres. Personally, the sports I have really enjoyed so far have been swimming and the equestrian events. And oh, I have tickets for the Olympic stadium for tomorrow night. I couldn't be more excited.

BlackberryIce Wed 05-Sep-12 21:29:56

I'm a bit sceptical though..... All the talk if benefit cuts for the disabled, how they are now being forced to work..... It seems to me like it's timed so that we see the para Olympians and are expected to believe that 'if they can do it, then the disabled Joe public can too'

iklboo Wed 05-Sep-12 21:30:33

It's been brilliant for DS to see people with disabilities competing. He is really behind team GB (and a little bit in love with Ellie Simmonds). A couple of his friends at school are wheelchair users & he gets upset when other children say nasty things. I'm sure he'll be bringing up the Paralympians & how great they've performed.

I love The Last Leg too. I had a very, very rude dream about Adam Hills the other night blush.

PurpleAndPoppyWearer Wed 05-Sep-12 21:35:45

iklboo know what you mean about Adam! Giles Long also gets my vote. The British table tennis medallist is also rather swoon-worthy, according to someone I know who met him.

I digress!

fivegomadindorset Wed 05-Sep-12 21:38:28

I am sitting on the fence about the Last Leg only because he has a really annoying voice.

iklboo Wed 05-Sep-12 21:43:11

I know what I'd like to sit on re The Last Leg & it ain't the fence grin.

It's the sofa with Adam, Alex Brooker et al.

What? You dirty minded lot!

MMMarmite Wed 05-Sep-12 21:53:20

Surprisingly yes. After I've spent an hour watching it, I feel much more comfortable going out on my mobility scooter, sort of confident, no longer the odd one out. It's like working in a job where 95% of the employees are men, and then getting put on a project with lots of powerful accomplished women, you feel in the majority and it's kind of empowering.

TunaPastaBake Thu 06-Sep-12 13:05:03

iklboo perhaps you can #isitok to have those kind of thoughts ?

iklboo Thu 06-Sep-12 18:08:21

Tuna grin

It has, though hard to explain how. I've had lots of philosophical arguments with myself about what 'qualifies' as a disability and what not, how the classifications work, when a disadvantage in everyday life becomes an advantage instead, all sorts. Plus it's been massively interesting to watch DD's reactions, and to discuss the athletes and the sports with her.

BlackberryIce that is a concern, isn't it? Non-disabled Joe Public need to go off and run a marathon before succumbing to that way of thinking.

manicinsomniac Brazil Sun 09-Sep-12 21:57:40

Yes, a little bit. Not abaout disability in general but about the ability of paralympic athletes.

I've hardly seen any of it due to most of it being in term time and not having live tv at home (channel 4 sucks at internet tv compared to BBC!) but the live session I went to was eye opening.

The 100m women runners with cerebal palsy - 4 of them ran it in a faster time that I can. And they have cerebal palsy! Unbelievable! ALL the blind women ran 100m in a faster time that me and one of them was under 12 seconds!! I was completely gobsmacked. I bought the tickets so that we could see the stadium. I wasn't expecting the sport itself to be of any quality. But I was totally wrong.

PurpleAndPoppyWearer Sun 09-Sep-12 22:32:46

Know what you mean, manic, have seen some amazing SPORT. Regardless of physical ability or whatever.

wannaBe Sun 09-Sep-12 22:48:44

sadly I don't think it will last and people's attitudes will go back to where they were before too long.

I read

this article

yesterday which made a stark contrast between the inclusiveness of the games and the reality out there in the real world - especiall for wheelchair users.

I am VI and I have aalways had friends who are paralympians. in the 2002 commonwealth games two friends of mine from South Africa both won medals in the athletics and swimming respectively. The team assistant for the South African athletics team is a school friend of mine. So I am no stranger to disabled sport iyswim. (I played goal ball at school etc).

The reality is that this is like a honeymoon effect. We see what the paralympian athletes can do and what, if resources are available, can be done to make the world an inclusive place. However then the athletes all go home to their respective countries and the "resources" all go back to their day jobs and in time the public forget.

And I speak as someone for whom the world is mostly inclusive, and for whom the hardest part sometimes is having to carry my dog down an escalator on the underground. But for someone who has to use a wheelchair the world is still largely not inclusive, because escalators and stairs and doors and the public just haven't got there yet.

wannaBe Mon 10-Sep-12 00:19:54

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