Monday, December 31, 2012

Transportation and People with Autism

Bil is unable to drive.  He does not have the mental abilities or required judgement to learn how to drive, as do many other people with autism.  We like to say that, with help, the disabled can do anything that a non-disabled person can do.  But that isn't necessarily true.

Driving is not a skill that everyone can learn.  And, in many parts of the country, that means that the disabled must depend on mass transit.

In our area of south central New York, this is what a person like Bil would face:

Mass transit that is constantly in danger of danger of being cut, or the fares being raised (both disastrous to the disabled....)

Sidewalks that are, many times, not plowed or cleaned for days and days after a snowstorm.....sometimes by homeowners, but more times than you would think, by businesses.  Yes, businesses.  Because they will plow their parking lots, but heaven help anyone who walks or takes mass transit to their business.

Sometimes, the homeowners can't clear sidewalks because they are elderly or disabled themselves, and can't afford to hire out.  You know htat pool of eager teenagers that used to exist for that function?  Too many times now, that help is hard to get.  Not all municipalities have programs to help these people - again, because of budget cuts.

Sometimes, those are the sidewalks the disabled need to get to the bus or train.  Impassible sidewalks, maybe they get punished by their employer or even fired.

Disabled people ask only that the "playing field be leveled", but blocked sidewalks hurt them, hurt the elderly, hurt many people - sometimes, even physically, when they fall.

But even if sidewalks are cleaned - it is still hard for the disabled to get around in the ice and snow.

One could wish that, with the New Year, that would change.  But we know it won't.

Still and all:  Happy New Year, Bil.

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