Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What we can learn from children with disabilities

I always find it interesting how some people describe their disabilities. When people ask me what my disability is, I usually just say my legs are paralyzed from a car accident. Depending on the situation, I may go into further detail that my injury is a complete spinal cord injury at the thoracic 5th and 6th vertebrae. It is not only how you describe your disability, it is how you view it. Some adults I know are proud to have a disability, while others are maybe embarrassed about their disability. Everyone is different, but kids are another story.

I stumbled across an ad for a children’s hospital and it was interesting to hear what the kids had to say about their disabilities. There was a 10 year old girl with Cerebral Palsy in the ad who spoke very proudly about her disability and I was very touched by what she said, because I agree with her statement. Here is what she said:

“I’m different in my legs - Not my mind! There is nothing different about me inside - it’s just my outside appearance.”

This statement is very true, and to hear it from a 10 year old little girl just says it all. Here is a girl who was born with a disability and she already knows that – you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover!

In the interview she talked about how she always thanks other children when they ask her why she has to use a wheelchair. She wants to share with other children so they will be comfortable around her. As an adult, I get tired of explaining my disability, but I know people are just curious. It reminds me that no matter what age you are, we all need to have patience with people and educate them. If people with disabilities don’t take the time to educate society about our disabilities, then we can’t get mad if we don’t feel accepted. Next time I run into someone that asks me about my disability, maybe I should thank them for asking too, and explain - that I am also just different in my legs and not my mind!

Tammy Wilber
~I’m the same person, just sitting down!~

Resources for kids with disabilities:
Here is a great magazine for kids with disabilities:
Here is a great book I heard called, Arnie and the New Kid by Nancy Carlson:

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