Personal Assistant: Seeing the Person, Not Just the Needs

wheelchair on beach with people in water

I recently stumbled upon a wonderful blogpost titled Letter To A Personal Assistant. The writer is a woman with cerebral palsy, and she discusses how she trains the people who help her with activities of daily living to remember to see her as the person she is.

What she’s asking is something that, I sometimes fear, is in short supply — the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. We have trouble doing this in our conversations, our workplaces, in our families, and certainly in our politics.

But when one becomes dependent on another person’s ability to perceive, empathize, and even be curious enough to care — well, the thought is frightening.

As I read Kathleen’s letter, it reminded me of my own instructions detailed on my Advanced Healthcare Directive. I currently don’t have disabilities, but I imagined a time when I might. If I can hear, I don’t want to get stuck in a room with a television blaring FOX News, so I listed all the podcasts and music I love. I suggested getting me an iPad, etc. You get the idea. I tried to think for someone who might want to help, but not really know how.

I hope you’ll give Kathleen’s blogpost — and the entire blog — a read. It was written for a reason, and needs to be heard and shared.