Although I was never considered a child with special needs, I was a special needs’ child, just like any other child dealing with a disability. Whether we’re a child or an adult, when it comes to a disability, we’re somehow expected to fall into line, and our struggles met with resentment from those close to us.
The reality for some of us is that where others should be emotionally supporting us, we often have to be our own emotional support. Attitude is important for those of us who deal with a disability and attitude starts at home with our parents and family.
If society is going to permanently change attitudes towards disability, it is initially up to parents to instil inclusivity and kindness in their children.
My suggestions for disability inclusiveness are as follows:
- Don’t see anyone with a disability as a problem, or someone that needs to be fixed;
- Not all people with disabilities present in the same way, so it’s important to understand each disability separately and how each person presents;
- Compassion, patience and kindness are important. They go a long way towards communicating and understanding what someone with a disability deals with.
Those of us who deal with a mild disability may struggle even more, than those with an obvious disability, because our shortcomings aren’t always apparent to others, and we’re still expected to conform. Being around someone who deals with a disability can teach us about ourselves, but we must be prepared to look for the understanding.
If attitudes changed towards disability and people were generally more positive towards those dealing with one, there would be less of a stigma towards disability, and disabled people would fit into their lives more comfortably.
What has happened to empathy, tolerance, and understanding? Because that is all it would take. If the shoe were on the other foot, others would expect nothing less from us.