Thursday, February 11, 2016

disAbility

I saw this  quote on actor RJ Mitte's Facebook page. "A disAbility isn't a weakness its knowledge and strength." I knew I wanted to write a blog post about it.

There are still people who view a person with a disability as someone who is to be pitied, someone who cannot contribute. Someone who is inferior. The reality is that people with disabilities lead perfectly normal lives, yet we have to work twice hard to be accepted. The world we live in is not made for people with disabilities. We encounter obstacles everyday. They range from physical barriers to the attitudes  of people who judge us solely because of our disability. They judge us on the basis of what they see, rather trying to get to know the person we are.  In my opinion, they are the weak ones.  

We know about perseverance because of the rejection we have encountered. I read about a young man with Cerebral Palsy who was rejected approximately one hundred times before he finally got a job. I cannot imagine what strength and courage it took for him to continue to apply for jobs. He persevered until he finally got the job he deserved. I was told I'd never get a job, but I was determined. I succeeded by creating a position for myself. 

We know about responsibility. When I taught computer classes I was responsible for getting a substitute to  teach my classes if I was ill. If i did not get a sub, I  had to find time to make up the classes. I rarely missed class. I was only late once in sixteen years. I knew that my students deserved to get what they paid for. I did everything I could to make sure they had a positive experience in my class. 

We know about empathy.. People with disabilities have the ability to empathize with the difficulties others face. We face challenges every day. While everyone's challenges are different, if we can put ourselves in another person's shoes and think how we would feel, in their situation, then we can understand. I think this an important skill for caregivers to develop. No one knows what it is like to be forgotten in the bathroom without your call light until it happens to you. 

We know patience.Most of the time those helping us will do so when it is convenient  for them, not us.

We know about gratitude. When you have a disability and need assistance, you are grateful for things most people take for granted. I am grateful when someone answers my call light in a short amount of time. I am grateful that there is someone to get me out of bed, help me to the bathroom and help me dress for the day. I take nothing for granted. I say thank you all the time..

The word disability has the word ability in it. Don't get stuck only seeing a person's disability. Don't focus on what they can't do. See them as a person. Focus on what they can do. 

There are days when I am so tired. Tired of being one of approximately thirty people. Tired of making sure that my needs are met.  Tired of waiting. I have no choice but to keep going. People with disabilities are strong because of their disabilities. We face challenges. We persevere.  




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