The biggest challenge I have faced as a special needs parent is getting others to see Olivia beyond her different abilities. It happens in every situation, out in public, around friends and family and even at school.
Often times Olivia is referred to as a “baby” or is treated very cautiously because others believe she will hurt easily or they feel she can not understand them.
I always correct these perceptions and draw attention to Olivia’s abilities. When others, especially kids her own age, see she knows how to give a fist pump; their initial impression of her changes immediately. She becomes the cool kid. They begin to relate to her as a regular kid; which she always was, but they struggled to see.
I guess what I’m saying is, I wish people would just give individuals, like Olivia, a chance. We as a society have to stop looking at disability as being limited and accept it as a difference of ability. People do things differently everyday. I for instance write with my righthand; my son writes with his left, famous artist and writer, Christy Brown created masterpieces using his left foot. My point is this, it shouldn’t matter how you express your abilities, there is no rule book of life that states we all need to be cookie cutter images of one another, copying tasks identically. We are all unique individuals capable of unique and extraordinary ability. Disability is a word that in its creation, placed judgment on another person simply by implying disadvantages in a person’s ability. I am passionate about changing the face and stigma around what others perceive of “disabled” individuals.
“People are pretty much a like. It’s only that our differences are more susceptible to definition than our similarities”~Linda Ellerbee