Food for Thought, written by "Cookie Gimp"
Reflections on Fundraising by “Cookie Gimp”
How do occupational therapists feel about fundraising relating to disability? I know it's important and necessary but I still find both telethons and other imagery of disabled children as using pity and humiliation to raise funds. And I find this deeply troubling. It sets up rehab workers, including OTs, as seeing disabled people as pitiful and pathetic rather than equals. And with children, the consent is always murky as it could simply be the parents who agree. I saw such an ad by the local rehab hospital today in my local paper about a pressure sore mat that will better diagnose pressure sores and it talked about an occupational therapist that could help her. I think that's great but they gave the example of a 13 year old girl with spina bifida and prominently featured her picture. Everyone is different but having spina bifida myself, I sure wouldn't want all my friends to see my picture associated with pressure sores on the coccyx and the need for funding. The message it sends is one of pity and misfortune when really these are services that should be a matter of right. So I think it's time OT reexamines how it portrays disabled children. It should be possible to raise money without using exploitative imagery that likely will be highly damaging to the child.
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