I’ve discussed this issue before.
On the news tonight was a story promoting spinal cord injury awareness. The program is aimed at high school students and given by persons with paraplegia and quadriplegia resulting from spinal cord injuries. The message is – don’t do stupid things – otherwise you will end up in a wheelchair. And the implication is that life in a wheelchair sucks.
Here’s a quote from a web-site who promotes the program (I didn’t link it as it is down the page a fair bit and doesn’t have a direct link):-
Valuable spinal injury prevention messages have been shared with more than 1.1 million children throughout Queensland over the past two decades.The Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT) is an innovative injury prevention program that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2007.A team of passionate and dedicated volunteers, who all have paraplegia or quadriplegia, share insight and information about the consequences of life in a wheelchair after a spinal cord injury.
They convey powerful injury prevention and safety messages.School students are in – or are fast approaching – the highest risk age group for the majority of all spinal cord injuries: between the ages of 15 and 30.
To further reach out to the students, the presenters reveal their own personal stories about how they sustained their injury – and encourage interaction with the students to foster greater disability awareness and understanding.
Speaking to an average 50,000 students each year, the presenters use an interactive, multi-media presentation that has accreditation approved by Education Queensland and is written to the school curriculum.The primary school presentation includes fun animation, video footage, colourful graphics and text, as well as games such as Simon Says to illustrate the important link between the brain and the spinal cord. At high schools, a powerful DVD called Consequences shares the stories of two teenagers who sustained permanent spinal cord injuries following road accidents – the number one cause of all such injuries.
With a variety of presentations targeted to different grades, the program focuses on lifestyle challenges after a spinal cord injury, the anatomy and physiology of the spine, and important safety messages. Key messages include the importance of wearing a helmet, checking water depth before diving, using seat belts and playing sport safely and according to the rules.
The SEAT program, which is supported by Disability Services Queensland, Queensland Transport, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and BHP Billiton’s Cannington Mine, aims to reach out to 70,000 students in 2007 at pre-schools, primary schools and high schools around the state.The primary objective of SEAT is to reduce the incidence of spinal cord injury in Queensland.Currently a $1 fee per child is charged, however plans are underway to offer the program free of charge to all students in Queensland in the future.
To make a booking, phone 3391 2044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
So I know that this is probably the unpopular view – but – I think this type of program does more harm than good. It doesn’t seem to have taken into consideration the bigger picture; the flow on effect that it has for people with disabilities; that disabilities arise from the disabling attitude of the community – not the individual.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for education about the spine, how injuries occur and preventative actions.
What do you think?