The first American school to teach American Sign Language (ASL) was the Hartford-based Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons in 1817 (renamed the American School for the Deaf). While the focus on educating persons with disabilities was groundbreaking at the time, it is clear from the institution’s name alone that there was an implicit, audist prejudice in its perception and approach to its students.
Lockdown, as a result of the global pandemic, has not changed much for me, except to make me reflect on my own behaviours. Non-disabled people protesting about lockdown restrictions, do not know how privileged they are. After lockdown they can go back to normal, but this is my normal. For a long time I have restricted when and where I go in order to reduce the amount of unwanted attention I receive. As a person with dwarfism, every outing will include the risk of being stared at, pointed at, laughed at, called names, or even photographed.