Artificial or Attitude?

Five blue boxes, each with a graphic depicting an accessibility-related concept: hearing assistance, sign language, wheelchairs, accessible spaces, and service dogs.I am still trying to figure this one out and I have to admit that I may never be able to do so.  This so-called artificial/attitude barrier has been around much longer than I and this is what it is.

Too often, whenever someone with a disability is accompanied by either a friend or family member,  they are asked if the accompanying person is a care giver.    Recently, I was asked this same question when my friend accompanied me to a lab to have some tests done.  The lab technician could not seem to stop herself in asking this question and she was very surprised when both my friend and I said in unison that we were friends.

Why should she have been surprised?  Was it that she along with so many others around us really do not expect us to have friends who accompany us to appointments?  Or is it that they think we need care givers to escort us?  Or is it simply that they just do not know what to ask?

I do my best to be patient but sometimes I become frustrated and simply tell them that I do not need a care giver.  Or I may just turn the question back to them and ask why do they think that my escort is my care giver?  99% of the time there is no response.

One of my favourite memories is the day when my mom accompanied me to a pre op appointment and the medical assistant asked if mom was my nurse!  On this occasion I could not help but burst into peals of laughter.  My mom was speechless!  After taking a-hold of myself I gently told the medical assistant that she was my mom; not my nurse.

And very recently my friend and I accompanied my mom to the dentist and lo and behold!  They thought my friend was a care giver and asked me for her phone number.  When I told the staff that she was not our care giver but our friend they were shocked but at least had the manners to apologize.

Just my two cents for today.


Five blue accessibility logos, hearing impaired, sign language, wheelchair, restroom with wheelchair and guide dog.

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About Donna Jodhan

Donna Jodhan is an award winning blind author, advocate, sight loss coach, blogger, podcast commentator, and accessibility specialist.
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