I’m not going to add any images to this post. I just want you to ask yourself some questions. When you encounter a person with disabilities, what is your reaction? Are you scared or nervous? Annoyed or irritated? Perhaps you brush them off like so much dust on your shoes? Could it be that you feel sorry for them and hope their life is short because it must be miserable? I know someone with a disability who endures all of these attitudes. What he would really like is for people to be patient with him, listen to what his interests are, and find a place in this world where he can be useful and provide something of value for others. He’s really very sweet and sensitive, although admittedly it takes extra time and effort to work with him. My attitude has changed since I’ve known him and I’m grateful for our experience together.
Keep listening. Keep learning. Try not to speak for us. Let us speak for ourselves.
I am disabled. So how do I feel about people with disabilities? I feel that we are human beings. And I feel tired of the feeling I need to do something specific to justify my own existence and conversely being on the receiving end of undue praise that sets the bar so extremely low for me and those like me. I do not exist to be your inspiration or your way by which to measure how much better or worse you believe you have it.
I am enough just as I am. I don’t need to be TOLD I have value by an able-bodied person to know that I HAVE value. I don’t have to do something useful to justify my being here.
I AM here.
I am disabled.
I am human.