tiistai 24. marraskuuta 2015

Photographer Veli-Matti Lehtinen tells about his life in wheelchair

Veli-Matti got CP injury during his birth, because he could not get enough oxygen. Luckily he thinks the injury has not influenced too much to his life and Veli-Matti is a regular person, who uses a wheelchair in mobility. "Ofcourse there are some challenges in life of having a CP injury and not the least of them is people's attitude, which varies quite much. For example if someone stranger calls to my mobile, he/she may end up the phone call, when I am trying to ask what this person wants to talk about. Caller may not understand that assistant person is helping me and I am not able to speak myself. Except I am able to say the word 'no'. Once when I was out without my assistant and only using handsfree, one friend of mine learned to speak with me by asking yes and no questions and I answered no or stayed silent when I meant to say 'yes'. Sometimes if I am very nervous when someone stranger is calling and then even the word 'no' does not come out my mouth."

For journal sellers Vel-Matti says sometimes a very strict 'NO!', especially if they try to sell something. Nowadays mostly assistants answer his phone, because he lives in his own apartment. Veli-Matti communicates through Bliss-symbols, but communication is not the biggest challenge but the attitude towards diversity is. "Sometimes people think that I am hearing impaired and speak to my assistant instead of me and when I try to make new friends, they may look at me like something cheap and leave. So they are not interested, but children come to talk to me and they are very curious. Adults are not." tells Veli-Matti.

If he could change something in this world, Veli-Matti would give everyone a possibility to live at home and not in hospital or some institution, because that affects directly for growing as an adult mentally if someone is always making decisions for you. That is the reason why assistant should also not to take control over an adult person's life. " Medical staff may say that falling in love and finding a girlfriend is not something which will happen in your life and definitely sex is not a part of you life, because of the disability." Veli-Matti thinks these thing belong to everyones life and medical staff should be more supportive in finding a partner, because traditional marriage is the most natural thing in peoples lives." (Check the Charity calendar campaign for equality) When Veli-Matti turned 15 became a Christian, which has helped him in difficult times in life. "I personally recommend religion to everyone, because Jesus is important friend for me."

Veli-Matti tells it is important to find the personal assistant, who's with is easy to cooperate and if communication does not work for some reason, that should be able to switch to someone else. Ofcourse the termination of employment needs to be done carefully that the assistant finds a job first. It is important to be able to speak about everything that disability services will not come between immediately. Assistants should consider that which kind person would be the best for this person that the personal chemistry works best. Bad chemistry can have effects on employers health and wellbeing so it is a serious matter, because the situation can go even that far that employer considers a suiside, if he/she does not find a way out of the situation. "I think it is important to talk about these things, because there are many people in difficult situation and they do not try to solve it themselves or dare to talk about it. They settle and have no idea what it is to cooperate with assistant who's with communication works." 

Veli-Matti loves to take beautiful photos and he started his hobby at the age of 25 with special equipped Four X with built in camera stand. His favorite shots are challenging for example photos against the light and the good camera with decent functions is needed. His favorite objects are lake sceneries, people, flowers, close-ups and different details. Here are few photos taken by Veli-Matti:

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