INVISIBLE DISABILITES AND AMBASSADORS

The Blind Voice of Cathy-Alice Koyanagi

Today while shopping at a clothing store, I turned to a woman next to me to ask for her assistance, “What size does this tag read?” I asked.   She politely answered and I said thank you.  Her adult daughter was with her and said, “Oh, mom, you just talked to a stranger.”    Her mother patiently explained to her why she could and reminded her of the rule that she should not talk to strangers.

Being unable to see faces, facial expressions, body language, and a whole host of non-verbal communication cues, I did not realize that her daughter was also disabled.  She explained her daughter has Autism.    I explained that I asked because I am disabled and told her about my blindness.  The young woman stated with tremendous empathy, “Mom, I feel bad for her.”

What happened today?   It was an example of ‘invisible disabilities’ – one person with blindness…

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