Friday, July 16, 2010

Bridge Over Troubled Water

I found something nice via the City of Melbourne site, and am wondering if we have something similar in America.

What is it?

A Companion Card.

If someone in Australia is severely disabled and needs assistance when out and about, they can show their special Companion Card, and get their helpful companion into venues for free.

Here's a website about it. They explain that the reason the card exists is that otherwise disabled people would be facing discrimination. Would it be fair for someone to pay double the price to see a concert because they must have someone with them for assistance?

I wonder though if people ever take advantage of the situation; probably not the disabled person, but maybe their friends and family.

I'll take you to the concert!

No, I'll take her. I'm much better at helping her in the bathroom. Last time you helped, she had toilet paper trailing from her foot.

That was an accident! How long are you going to keep bringing that up?

You can go with her next week.

Next week? To the lecture on probiotics and cats? Thanks a lot.

Look. What are you two going on about?! Who the hell said I'm going to that concert? You know I hate that loud music.

But you HAVE to go. You have that card. You can't let me down! Please! Please?

Oh okay. As long as you do better toilet paper checking next time. And you majorly owe me for this!
I guess they could draw straws to see who gets be the accompaniment. Or maybe you have to use the same companion each time. That might get old though.

I'm not seeing anything on the site that indicates you must always use the same companion. So maybe you can use a new companion each time...well, if you're really that popular. Otherwise, you can probably switch back and forth between a few friends/family members.

They're pretty strict about who can get a card, and when you're allowed to use the card. You have to have a severe disability, and one that's life long. You can't get a card if you've broken your leg and are temporarily in a wheelchair. Nor can you get a card if despite your disability, you're fairly independent. As the website says, You must only use your Companion Card if you are unable to participate at a particular venue or event without attendant care support; not only for reassurance or social support. If you have previously attended an activity independently, this arrangement should continue.
That makes sense. Someone could argue, But I NEED that emotional support. It's necessary for my well-being. And that's most likely true. But the same could be said for all of us...disabled or not. Or maybe it's that we're ALL a bit disabled....at least emotionally.

Anyway, I tried to find out if they have similar cards in America, but I can't find anything. It might be the fact that I'm not sure exactly what to google.






P.S-Today is Tim's birthday!!! SO....Happy Birthday to Tim!