Author Archives: Jamie-Lee Dwyer

Voluntary Euthanasia Is a Complex Topic

I’m going out on a limb here to talk about one of those controversial issues that tend to get skated around a lot in disabilities communities: voluntary euthanasia (VE), also known as physician-assisted suicide. Last year, I met someone who was severely disabled by an accident. I found…

Disability Throughout History

Throughout history, fear of the abnormal has been deeply ingrained in the human psyche. Disability as a supernatural punishment In ancient times, impairment was believed to be the result of divine intervention. Seen as punishment for angering the gods, the only solution was exorcism or banishment. Alternatively, it was…

Disability and Social Isolation

Disability can be an isolating experience, depending on its severity and a person’s willingness to look past it. Of course it’s incredibly isolating. Every single disabled experience is unique, and it can be hard to find able-bodied people who understand our daily struggles — who really empathize, and…

Breaking Down Barriers in Care Settings

Why is it so hard for some people to recognize that people with a disability are human as well, with the same needs and wants we all have? I have seen a lot of nonverbal people with a disability treated as if they are mentally incapacitated when they…

Why a Cure Isn’t Everything to Me Anymore

When I was younger, I just wanted to be healthy and able-bodied. When I went to sleep, I always dreamed of myself as walking; I never saw my wheelchair in my dreams. And when I was awake, I constantly imagined a future for myself in which my disability was no…

No One Knows Your Body Better than You Do

Growing up with a rare condition, I always relied on doctors and specialists to know how best to deal with my troubling body. Like most people, I left it to someone else to decide what I needed to do in order to feel better. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had…

Accessibility for Wheelchair Users

Last year, my eyes were opened to high-needs disabilities when I moved out of my home and into a shared living situation with in-home care around-the-clock. It became obvious to me over time how difficult it was for the other residents to get around in public spaces. You see, in…

Laughing in the Face of Adversity

For those of us with FA or any other disability, overcoming adversity is part of our daily lives, to the point where we don’t even notice it anymore. There is a trick to embracing adversity, for turning life’s greatest challenges into some of life’s greatest opportunities, and it doesn’t come…

The Intertwining of Education and Disability

I was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) as an 11-year-old. When I was about 15 or 16, the reality of my diagnosis hit me and I found myself struggling to cope with it. As far as I was concerned, my life was never going to amount to anything worthwhile because…