Approaching Disability: In many ways, we are the same

There is a huge difference between knowing information about a disability and knowing people with a disabilityOne of my passion areas is educating people on what disability looks like “behind the scary curtain.” Disability is a topic people have a natural tendency to avoid, but this natural tendency has unintended consequences like separating people with disability from the rest of society.

This is partly why I blog, why I share so much about our family’s journey on Facebook, and why I take every opportunity to speak in front of an audience. I want to break the stigma of disability by showing you the other side. The beautiful side. The “in some ways we are different, but in many ways we are the same” side (thank you Daniel Tiger for this catchy little phrase).

My goal is to help grow a new generation that walks towards people with disabilities and positively engages them rather than awkwardly averting their eyes. It sounds small, but would be a huge shift. Sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact.

I came across the following article last night, and really like the advice. The author writes through the lens of someone in a wheelchair, but most of the advice can be applied to all differences.

Article Link: 10 Things Parents Should Teach Kids About Disability
The author provides more perspective behind each and why they are important. Below is the cliff notes version. :)

  1. Answering “why can’t they walk”
  2. Don’t get mad when they get curious.
  3. Being different isn’t a negative thing.
  4. Always ask before helping.
  5. Our wheelchairs aren’t oversized strollers.
  6. Be careful about how you, yourself, react.
  7. A 10-second stare is OK. I promise.
  8. We aren’t in pain.
  9. We can be awesome too.
  10. Our chairs aren’t glued to our butts (i.e. we can get out).

An effort like this takes a village and you can help make a difference, too.


One comment:

  1. This is right on – it’s hits a nerve with me. I emphasize to my other children to be sure to include those with differences and find a way they can participate. I also want people to know it’s better to notice a difference than to pretend it isn’t there and just ignore my child. We haven’t run in to much yet, but I can evaluate my own actions and recognize that it will be coming.

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