Disabilities (The Experience)
This first book is the most informational, defining what constitutes a “disability”, how they are caused, and what that means for individual people and society at large. Each chapter has a different author and a different topic, all somewhat based around information on specific types of disabilities. It ranges from “But Stroke Happens to Older People Doesn’t It?” a chapter about people in their 30s or 40s dealing with the physical and emotional aftermaths of suffering a stroke, to “Disability in Arab Societies”, a chapter about…people with disabilities in Arab societies. Both of these chapters combine general information as well as personal stories. If you’re reading this book for a paper, it also has lot of references at the end of each chapter, telling where the authors got all their information, as well as where to find more. As a start to this book series, it’s a good way to begin, laying out the groundwork for the later books that get into more details of the issues discussed. And it is a much better way to get information on normal people living with disabilities than whatever is being shown on some procedural this week.
This book, while in the same series with the same themes, covers environmental, social, and cultural considerations. Where the first book was defining what exactly a disability is, this is more about how society reacts to them. Governments around the world have long struggled with how to help people with disabilities, and how much they can and should help. Or, how much people with disabilities even want help. In one chapter, called “Autonomy and Disability: A Quest for Quality of Life”, the author discusses how people with disabilities have fought to be treated like anyone else. It’s more about people with disabilities who want to be independent. More importantly, it asks how society can support people with various disabilities who want to live independently, especially children who want to learn to eventually function as adults. There is another chapter about a nurse who changes her whole perspective on research and disabilities when her brother is in a car accident and becomes brain damaged. It also provides a very harrowing look into what families go through when someone gets a brain injury, and how little support they receive in health care settings. Yeah, this book is not always super cheerful, to be honest. But, it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be both informative, and personal. And this one is personal in ways that the last one was not.
So this is the third in our trilogy, and the one that combines both the elements of the series, the personal stories and the facts. It is also the book that goes abroad a lot, looking at treating disabilities in elementary students in Greece, cancer related disabilities in Canada, and the increasing issues of disability in Sri Lanka, among many others. It’s mostly facts, but they’re woven into personal stories, which I think is an interesting way to talk about these issues. Plus, people don’t always think much about how different countries deal with disabilities, and it’s interesting seeing how different cultures have tried to deal with things. While the second book was about society, this one is more about political issues. It deals less with how society or individuals manage physical or mental issues, and more with how countries and governments deal with them. Some of the chapters are more like the first book, just lots of information, while some are more like the second, and are more personal. Which one is your preference? Doesn’t matter, because there are plenty of both!