Super Crip

January 14th, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

For today’s guest blog, we are lucky to have a post by Jessica Beth Mayer, President of JB Access who is a trainer and consultant specializing in disability awareness issues. Jessica has led disability awareness training sessions and provided panel discussions for such prestigious organizations as the Museum of Modern Art, Chase Manhattan Bank and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She serves on the Advisory Board for Accessibility Issues at the Museum of Modern Art and is an advisor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and has guest lectured for 10 years for Cornell ILR. Jessica’s topic for today’s guest blog is the Super Crip stereotype of people with disabilities.

In world of disability there are only three types of people. There are objects of pity, objects of inspiration and objects of super human ability. All of these characterizations are one dimensional and flat.

A super person with a disability aka Super Crip is someone who is perceived as being an over achiever, doesn’t make mistakes, who seems to be happy all the time and who is looked to be overcoming her disability. Plus, she never gets frustrated by anything, including her disability.

I have Cerebral Palsy (CP) and a super crip on the outside. I am in my own business, a college graduate and I do a lot of public speaking. I seem to not get frustrated by my disability at all. On the inside I think I have a pretty normal reaction to things that I find annoying.

When I was applying for college in the 1980’s one school made me talk to a psychologist before I was accepted. He asked me “Are you an angry person?” My response was no. I really didn’t understand the question at the time. So I get it now. He meant am I an angry disabled person? I still think the answer in no. However, because my CP affects my small motor coordination skills, I do get frustrated by certain things like typing, reading and writing. Sometimes, like most people, I procrastinate especially when a task is more difficult. This is one of the major reasons why it took me a little longer to write this blog. Historically, I haven’t loved the physical part of writing and the speech recognition software has trouble with my imperfect speech but lately I have found I am enjoying the creative and intellectual aspects.

Most of us have many issues going from family to work to finances. This is life with or without disabilities. The disability part just makes it more (let’s say) interesting. There are no red capes and no magic, just learning how deal with stuff. The sooner we all stop believing in the idea that people with disabilities are somehow emotionally stronger than everybody else, we can better learn from each other. What people with disabilities are usually better at is being able to figure out new ways of doing tasks because we’ve had to be more adaptable.

The pressure of perfection is too much to handle. Every time I’d go to conduct a workshop, I used to feel an enormous amount of stress to be perfect because I thought I was speaking for every person with a disability and if a client didn’t think I was great then the company would never hire people with disabilities. I no longer feel that way. Once I stopped trying to be perfect I am better because my humanity shows through. The little mistakes I make are funny. It shows that I am able to laugh at myself and then participants learn more.

For more information on JB access and Jessica Beth Mayer, visit the JB Access site at www.jbaccess.com

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