After six (6) years of advocating for disability rights, deaf people and disability people have many similar barriers.  I know many in the deaf community would disagree.  I would like to focus on the similar in this time when fighting the Department of Labor (DOL).  For one, they want their independence to choice who they want to work with.

Deaf people want someone who they can communicate with.  Many times they would end up in a institution where the staff or employees do not understand their needs of communication.  They do not give the times to the individual to develop trust or a relationship with the person to feel secured.  It’s the same way with interpreters, sometimes the deaf person feels that they want their preferred interpreter but the agencies would not send those people.  Maybe, they would get stuck with an interpreter who basically causes them to feel unsecured.  It’s the same way with the nurses and care services in the institutions.  Mainly, if this interpreter, staff or employee comes and they do not trust them, the information goes out there where they feel their privacy was invaded

Disability individuals are fighting the same thing with the direct care services.  They want to pick the person who will care for them.  In the way, this person will help bath, feed, help with bathroom and many other private concerns that they don’t want the public to know.  These individuals want to have the choice to hire, fire and train the person they know is best for them.  The institution model will take away that choice.  And, this leaves them with option they are no longer comfortable.

I have been looking at the photos in the new website made by the disability community to help others understand the problem.  It is called DOT Off My Body.  These photos are well written and said.  I copied one photo that I found on Facebook made by the DOT Off My Body, please check below:

This photo says all we need to know.  It’s time for us to educate the DOL that the choice of the disability individuals  same thing.

The main point here is that the people in DOL need to stop making decisions that do not include people with disability.  They need understand the needs of the disability community’s desires for privacy, choice and freedom.   It is time for the DOL to stop creating a set of rules that will influence the society to fear and stereotype what is a perfect care service to the disabled person.  It’s time to tell the society that our homes are our choice!  We do know what is best for us.

There is no needs for rules of who can decide for us.  The rule should be simple, we as an individual no matter disabled or non-disabled should have the rights to choice what is best service for US as an individual.   Not the DOL, neighbors or parents and etc…

I hope this message will helps the community and DOL to see that the disability individual’s choice is their rights not the doctors, hospitals or institutions.  Our privacy should be our decision.  Our freedom is also important here.   I hope this message will help people become part of this action alert below to “Tell the Obama Administration and OMB there should be NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US:

Thank you,

Dean DeRusso
Deaf Systems Advocate
RegionalCenterfor Independent Living


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