Tuesday, September 11, 2007

growing up with a disability offers grown up insight

I just came across
Growing up with a disability,
A blog written by David , a college student who understands so much more than his 21 years belie.

Evidence of this maturity is spelled out very clearly on his blog’s “About” page:
“I am 21 years old and am taking a year away from college to pursue this project. I like sports, music, travel, and conversation. And, I have cerebral palsy.”
“I believe society often underestimates the complexity of living with a disability - the joys, the challenges, the ordinary, and the extraordinary. “

There are two points worthy of noting in those statements.

First, Did you notice how he identified himself? Not only did he take the person first approach, but the cerebral palsy was included almost as a footnote. Yes, he happens to have a disability; however, this is but one facet of David’s character, which is overly abundant in his writings.

Secondly, in the last statement, he speaks volumes when he said, “the ordinary, and the extraordinary.”

The general public categorizes people with visible disabilities which are classified as severe all too often in one of either two bins-- the “poor soul” category with no semblance of normality in life, or the “supercrip” who is the maximum over-achiever, and moste suredly an anomaly amongst his or her disabled peers. However, like David points out, many people with these extreme disabilities would probably call their lives ordinary.

I am making a genralization in that last statement, but am speaking from the many conversations I’ve had with friends whose disabilities span a broad spectrum of conditions and limitations. These people have a life, family, friends, and enjoy activities and hobbies like most ordinary folks. They may have to go about these activities a little different to participate, but the enjoyment is the same. They are just ordinary people, but happen to have a disability.

Okay, enough pontificating from me. Good work there, David for putting so succinctly what it took me a couple of paragraphs to write out.

One particular post I found interesting on David’s blog was his most recent, Sept. 9 post about going to college. In that post, he spells out the assistive technologies of all sorts which has served him well and gives credit to an often overlooked genius among his helpers. This post also says a lot about the individual resourcefulness each of us provides and how we can all benefit from synergy. Not to mention, that post has some very useful tips on adaptations, remedies, and fixes others might find useful.

1 comment:

Jake said...

Very well said. I for one am not a blind person, I am somebody who just happens to be blind. I was born blind, and I would most certainly consider myself an ordinary human being who does not need pity. I have recently created a blog. Just click on my name and you will be taken there. My blog requires registration in order to post a comment, but registration is free. Check it out and let me know what you think by posting a comment or two. Thanks.