I’m not the type of person to feel strongly about standing up for my rights. Well, I take that back. I do feel strongly, but I have a hard time insisting on my rights being taking care of. For example, many years ago I met with a therapist. He flat-out told me that he refused to pay for an interpreter and that, if I wanted him to see me, I would need to pay for my own. Instead of explaining the ADA to him and insisting that he accommodate my needs, I shrunk down in my seat and just started saying stuff like, “Oh, that’s OK. I’m sure there are agencies out there who will pay for an interpreter for me. You don’t have to pay a thing. I’ll be fine.” Which, just in case you don’t know, isn’t quite accurate. It’s the therapist’s legal obligation to provide accommodations for me (an interpreter in my case) for his services. That doctor had me so intimidated that I’ve since found it hard to request accommodations with any doctor or group at any time. Pretty sad, eh?
My kids go to a charter school. I have had a few occasions when I’ve needed an interpreter. When I’ve asked, they have always – ALWAYS – said yes and gotten me an interpreter. Yet, it’s still scary for me to ask. Why is that? It’s not really fair for me to feel scared to ask for something that is rightfully mine. I do though. I shrink down like a little kid and beg for accommodations. One day, I hope to be able to stand up for myself with confidence and explain my needs and demand my rights be met. Until that day, I’ll sill request interpreters. I’ll just be scared doing so. Kind of pathetic, but that’s the way it is.