It is great to get a discount, just ask any senior who gets their meal at a discount or the AAA member who benefits with reduced admission when on vacation. We like to find bargains when we are shopping and often brag about the deal we got. In some instances, the people we support are given discounts or even free items with the only criteria for this discount being they have a disability. Let me be clear, I am referring to discounts that would not be given to the person if they did not have a disability.
At first glance, I tend to think this is great.
Many people with disabilities live at or below the poverty line.
They have very little income and the extras of life, not to mention some of the basics of life, are beyond their reach. Going to a movie can take up their entire entertainment budget for a month, so getting a free pass because of their disability enhances the quality of their life. I have no doubt that the people who offer these types of discounts have the best intentions in mind. They know that what they offer is out of reach for the people they are giving it to.
But is giving free or discounted items or services, with the only criteria based on the person having a disability, a benefit?
We so often talk about helping the people we support to be part of their community like everyone else. Does giving special privileges and benefits not available to anyone else fit into that philosophy? Does it not in fact set people apart as different from others in their community? Does the benefit of expanding their horizons outweigh this?
To be honest, I struggle with this one. I’d love to know what you think.