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New Brunswick Coalition of Persons with Disabilities

Mike Parker – Musician

Mike Parker – Musician

As someone who is mobility bound, living with chronic pain and cerebral palsy, the government threw up a lot of red tape when I came to get a new wheelchair. I found it’sreally complicated to get equipment from them when you’re not insured and when you’re noton social assistance. They question the occupational therapist and the doctors whenyou actually need the equipment. We shouldn’t even question these people. I mean,they’ve got to follow the rules as well and they understand what we need. It’s the peoplebehind the desks that have little idea what I need for my health, for my comfort, for me to getaround. We need some training to sensitize these people to help them understandwhat I live with on a daily basis and the challenges I face. The whole process to get awheelchair took nearly a year when I think it should be 3 months maximum. Believe me, Iknow firsthand how frustrating it is trying to get through this red tape. 

It’s the same thing with housing. There’s a lack of affordable buildings available that areactually accessible, and when we talk about accessible, we’re not just talking about aramp and the 36-inch door. We’re talking about cupboards, stoves, bathrooms, lifts thatneed to be installed. There should be guidelines to follow for what is an “accessible home.”They say they want to help people to stay in their own homes as much as possible but yetthey don’t just set them up to do that, you know. And then there’s the cost; who canafford this while unemployed, with a disability with little income or on socialassistance? Nobody. We can do better. 

Housing, transportation, income and supports are the things that the disabled haveproblems with. There are visible disabilities and invisible disabilities, and they’re all thesame, whether it’s mental, physical or invisible, they should all be treated the same. We areall people. A lot more humanity is needed.

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