When Ignorance Abounds

Today at work I received an education by a couple of men I will call Bert and Ernie. Now these two fellows are usually not part of my regular interactions as Bert is the IT guy and Ernie is the Auditor. We do talk mind you but not really in depth usually just information exchanges “Can you shut off the computers on Friday” and “Can you close the services on xxxxxxx” No real conversations but where I sit I can hear everything they say and today I was floored.

B: I am sick of F****** accommodations. When everyone is special no one is special.

E: Well it is society’s fault we let every high energy kid be called ADHD and we drug them to calm them down. Every inattentive kid is autistic and we rush to do something other then smack them upside the head.

Now these guys don’t deal with children well they deal with youth 16-20, but no kids per say.  The two went on and  on about how kids don’t have disabilities it is just lazy parents.  Now I have to work with these  folks so even though I could have read them the riot act I thought better of it. So I continue to listen.

B: Well I don’t think it is my job to accommodate those people they should get services from place geared to getting them help like ACCESS-VR (vocational training).

E: Well just tell them you won’t do it, we shouldn’t have to cater to every whim just because someone can do things normally.

OK now I can’t help myself I have to step in but I want to be careful for a bunch of reasons…mostly I have to come back to work tomorrow. So I walk over there and say “Hey do you guys really think individuals requiring accommodations are a pain or somehow not normal?” I mean we all have bad days maybe this was this was theirs.

B: Well if you can’t do a job (without accommodations) then you should get a job you can do.

E: I am just sick of every one of them expecting us to make it easier for them.

I smile mostly because they are so ignorant I am trying not to laugh. They look at me oddly so I say

“Well OK but I have a disability and until right now you were not aware of it. You both had no issues with my work, my intelligence level or capabilities to do this job. I was hired under the 55c program (disabled veterans program) and pretty much everyone knows that but still give me work to do even though I have a disability”

OMG talk about a Kodak moment!!! I wanted SOOOO bad to take a photo of their faces right then. So I continued

“So while there are aspects of this job I cannot do, I can do a majority of it and those areas I cannot do my coworkers pick up and help me with. So yes I do more presentations then they do because I struggle with data  input which is what they do. Oh and would you guys say I am lazy or inattentive?”  Both said no simultaneously. “That is funny because  my youngest is on the Autism Spectrum”

At this point they could not get out of their own way and stammered and stuttered but I just laughed I said “Hey I get it making accommodations is a pain in the butt, however when you do some good people like myself are really appreciative.” Finally Bert apologized and said “I am really sorry I sounded like an a** but it is hard when you are not trained to do it and then expected to do it” I agreed with him and asked him about the accommodation he had to make and then offered some suggestions to help  him out. He was thankful and said so.

As I walked out the door, Ernie who is a little hard of hearing, said loudly “Damn she is smart” and I just smiled to myself.

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