40 Years of Stories : On Community Perspective of Disability – Circa 1990

In thinking about the negative perspective that community can have, I am reminded of an experience I had when my children were young.  We had stopped by a McDonalds for a quick meal one Saturday afternoon, when I had noticed the van pull into the lot.  It had some writing on the side, with a large yellow smiley face.  Then they entered.

First the lead staff, and then 4 nicely dressed, but shuffling people followed.  Finally the last staff member brought up the rear.  I immediately had the image of two shepherds and their flock.

They sat down near us and the 2 shepherds got things set up and took orders.  They went for the meals and returned to oversee the lunch.  I couldn't help notice that other people in the restaurant noticed.  I heard the hushed voices of parents telling their children not to stare; that these people were "crippled."

As I saw this unfold, I noticed that there were both good and bad aspects to this obvious group home community outing.  I am sure the staff felt this was a nice day out in the community, and certainly there are good things about getting out.

On the other hand, there were also some real negative images about this outing.  People who appear strange, clustered around shepherds hovering over them, a well marked van that announced their deviance, their apparent inability to order, even with a simple McDonald's menu, all these things, in effect have hidden negative images.

Until Next Time...