Think about this when people talk about mandating masks in public schools.
Today, I saw this neck tag on a lanyard that someone would wear if they do not wear a mask because of the disability they live with. This particular tag was signed by the ADA Americans with Disabilities -not sure if it is from the ADA, but it is sold on ETSY. Image from ETSY.
For some people with disabilities, mask-wearing is not an option. For a person like my teen daughter Allie with PCDH19 Epilepsy, we need to see her lips and face and not have anything obstructing her face.
1. A mask covers up her blue lips. This is a signal she is at the start of a seizure.
2. A mask can get in the way of her gasping for air that she desperately needs.
3. A face shield could cause more restriction and danger when she is in a seizure as she violently moves around during a tonic-clonic seizure.
These are just a few examples I think about that pertain to health and safety.
Then the fallout.
I fear that she will get teased and bullied from staff and students for not wearing a mask or face shield.
I can hear the conversations now.
"Oh, my staff would never pressure Allie to wear a mask!"
But, they are human. Staff and students will have their own agenda. They will not have filters when it comes to letting everyone know about their mask protection.
These thoughts race through a mother's mind at 2 am.
These thoughts race through a mother's mind throughout the day when she is in school.
People with disabilities have rights. And, for a good reason. Let's not forget that we are not perfect. Let's not forget that we are not all the same. And, most importantly, let's not forget to be kind.
Joni Brown writes about her life raising her daughter that lives with PCDH-19 epilepsy, autism, anxiety and OCD.