Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Speaking For Those With No Voice

Welcome June! Can’t say I’m sorry to see you.

On last week’s Memoir Monday, I discussed some:

Lessons From Little People In My Life.

This week,

for the Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

I will be speaking on a much broader topic, but no less important of one.


Q: What is your opinion about forced treatment, and who should decide when a person is or is not capable of making sound decisions about treatment?

A: First of all – the term “forced” is not a good one, in any circumstance.

No person should be forced into something, no matter their ability or disability. Just because someone is unable to logically decide or vocalize what they might want, does not make it any more acceptable to force something upon them.

Historically, things were done, practices and procedures, deemed medically necessary at one time.

If a woman, for example, was thought to be in danger of finding herself pregnant or more easily taken advantage of, one thought was that she should have her uterus and maybe also her ovaries removed, for her own protection.

I remember how shocked I was, when I learned that one of the Kennedy siblings (sister to John and Robert) was given a lobotomy in the 40s. She had been born with a mental disability and this was thought to be the only answer to control her.

We’ve come far since that time, right?

I’d like to think so. I would hate to think what it must be like to have all your decisions in life taken away from you, whether able to mentally make proper choices or not.

I am lucky that it’s my eyes that don’t function, but otherwise I am completely capable of making rational decisions. I can speak my mind and stand up for myself.

Years and years ago, who knows what could have happened. It would depend on the amount of enlightenment and the type of family and other circumstances you were born into.

Just imagine what it would be like, to have your rights taken away and things done to your body that you did not agree to.

Violation, plain and simple.

I have seen people, unable to speak or make their wishes and feelings known, at least through words.

I know it is never simple, caring for them and having the pressure of making their decisions for them.

In a perfect world, anyone unable to make their own thoughts known would have loving and understanding families to step in when needed.

This, sadly, isn’t always the case. Often these decisions fall to care givers, the ones who take on the role of appointed spokesperson.

The benefits of a medical procedure, for instance, must be weighed against any possible harm. Is something medically necessary and required? How medically necessary is it?

It depends on the reason why the person can not say what they want. I can’t imagine what it must be like, not to be able to voice pain. To be locked up inside one’s mind and/or body must be the ultimate frustration.

I hope there are medical professionals and care givers who just want the best for those they care for. I have seen it. I know just such people exist, but these sorts of important decisions aren’t easy to take on.

Those who are the most vulnerable depend on others for their safety and compassion. Hopefully people who feed on just such power and control are few and far between.


Have you ever had to make a hard decision about another person’s care when they were unable to make that decision for themselves? What can we do to make sure those who need this compassion receive only the best care possible?

The Redefining Disability Project – On Facebook

Next week:

Do you or someone you know use adaptive equipment/adaptive technology and how does that affect your life?

Oh, do I have a lot to say about this.


Stay tuned.


3 thoughts on “Speaking For Those With No Voice

  1. Thank goodness I haven’t had to make this type of decision for any of my loved ones and I honestly don’t know what I would do. It would be dependent upon my relationship with the person (if I’m really close and know what their wants are I would hope I would respect their wishes), the situation (is is life or death or a long term health situation) and any other variables. Unfortuantely unless there is something in writing (many times even this isn’t possible say, if it’s a minor who was born with a dibilitating illness and they can’t communicate) this issue isn’t always black and white. There are people, who no matter how incapacitated they are, want their life sustained for a ‘just in case scenario’ and is anyone else to judge if these are their wishes? This is such a personal matter that can be super charged depending on the circumstances. Great post!

  2. Pingback: When It Rains It Pours | Her Headache

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