I like to think of myself as a self advocate and also to a certain degree a disability awareness / disability rights advocate in general. But maybe I'm thinking too much of myself there when all I do really is all I've got to do to get by.
One of the things being an advocate (self or otherwise) means is that sometimes you've got to pick your battles. Sometimes it means I argue things others might not understand and others I end up letting things go that I'd like to take further but I don't have the energy/time/motivation to do so. I would say the amount I am advocating is increasing and that generally I don't regret it when I let things go. In fact i can only think of two things over the last few years I really regret not following up.
Yesterday I went on a CAB training course. I usually really enjoy them but I'm kinda regretting doing this one because it was very "eh" and I'm wiped out now. The subject matter was probably very interesting but it was a bit rushed and not very well delivered. In fact one term got mentioned several times and I still left with no clue what it meant (I looked it up in a legal dictionary in the bureau this morning and I know now what it is but I still don't understand it).
The venue it was in is local to me (in fact it's opposite our bureau) and it's a place I've visited a lot over the years with the access group meetings being held there, CAB training and other town related events. It has wheelchair access which isn't perfect but it's adequate, it does for the job. Sometimes it can be a little annoying though. Access has improved over the years and I know they are aware of their "sometimes annoying" issue. It'll be resolved when funding becomes available.
Basically one of the rooms can only be accessed either by going in through the fire door or cutting through either of two other rooms. The fire door is not ramped and cutting through meets DDA requirements and in terms of fire safety the two connecting rooms have ramped fire exits and the fire service declared themselves satisfied. It's unusual for that room and it's two connecting rooms to all be in use at once and usually people don't mind if you just pop thru there session to go to the loo or whatever. I've only had an issue with that once (connecting door was locked). and I'm there multiple times a year. Yesterday one of the other rooms was free so we could use that and no one used the fire door. It can be frustrating but it doesn't register on my radar as a HUGE BIG DEAL.
The woman running the training yesterday was able-bodied (well, she briefly mentioned having a medical condition but she had no problems getting around) and she was in no way happy about the access situation.
She told me repeatedly that I was covered by the DDA in this situation. To which I pointed out their DDA responsibilities have been fulfilled and I thought the access was something and nothing.
Basically it's one of those things where it does get old but hell I can get in there I can get every where I need to go and do everything I need to do and it's pretty much always fine. that's very much dependent on other centre users understanding that I might have to walk through there session but I'll do my best not to do it too often or interrupt too much. I've never had a problem with that before. So given the number of places I really can't get places that have minor issues don't bother me.
The woman running the course told me that she'd be really pissed off if she was running a course in another room and a wheelchair user kept going in and out. And she said that she would stop me (them) doing it because she thought it would be disruptive and inappropriate. I can half see her point. She also told me again that I/it was covered by the DDA. And I shouldn't be afraid to make a complaint about it under DDA legislation. I should complain. She would make a complaint to the venue manager for me if I didn't want to. And she was pissed off for me. I found it strange that as the disabled person I was the one arguing to a TAB that the access was fine.
If there's one thing I'm not it's backwards about coming forwards. It was just, I didn't really see what the huge big problem was. And I've bigger fish to fry.
We had to do a venue feedback sheet afterwards and I did write on there that they could improve their wheelchair access, I always do. I know that they know that. But I also know that each time they get it flagged it helps them.
Anything more is just overkill if you ask me.