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Disabled

Posted Sep 17 2009 6:34pm
Disability. I hate that word. Let me tell you why. If we break it down, "dis" means to negate something and ability is obviously ability. So when we label someone with the word disabled we are saying that they're abilities are negated or nonexistant. In simpler terms that they are not able. But what are we saying they are unable to do exactly? And why are we limiting them by attaching this label to them? There are many things I am unable to do. I cannot figure skate, or cook anything but pasta, or see two feet away without my glasses, I can't play any sport without breaking something (usually a finger), and I can't play guitar to save my life among many other things. No one came up to me and labeled me as disabled because I can't do any of those things. What happened was I tried and tried and finally decided that it was just something thing I would have to live without. So there are going to be things my son cannot do, and there are things I cannot do. The difference between us is someone took a look at him and said "he is different than us, therefore we doubt his abilities." whereas I was allowed to be myself, and discover my own strengths and weaknesses through trial and error.

I don't want people to point to my son and say to others "that child is disabled." I want people to point to my son and say "that child is Skyler." and if they feel the need to add that is blind then so be it. But, say that he is visually impaired, say that he is blind. These things are true. But do not call my child disabled. In fact what I want above all else is for people not to point at my child at all, but to call his name and say "Skyler come here! I want you to meet ________" that would be the best I could hope for. Unfortunately I am aware that reality is not always the same as what we want for our children. I am hoping that throughout my son's life I will be able to teach him and others around him not to judge him by the label of disabled. I want them to know that yes he is blind, but he is first and foremost a person! He is not someone to be pitied or "helped" (unless he asks for help) just because people don't understand and see him as helpless or pitiable.

I know though that he is "classified" as disabled by our goverment. That classification is what allows him to have special services, access to the CNIB, extra money to pay for the visual aids he will need when he goes to school, the right to have an assistant at school, etc while I am grateful for the assistance they provide I do not agree with the label they have given him in order to justify providing it. And while I agree he is different than most of the kids he will likely go to school with, I don't think that makes him any less able than the rest of them. I think he should be the one to find out just how abled he is.
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