It is true that we all inherit character traits from our parents and spending time with our peers means we absorb theirs too, but what if the character traits we have are there because of a condition we deal with? I was considered lazy at home and in school. It didn’t matter how hard I tried, or what I did, I didn’t manage to make the grades. No one talked about the fact that I was failing.
It was inevitable that I would struggle mentally, emotionally, physically and academically because of cerebral palsy and what I now know to be autism, but no one took the time to understand or ask questions that would help them understand ‘me;’ why I presented a certain way and what I had to deal with. Sadly, the things I struggled with didn’t tie in with people’s expectations of me.
Of course, some people without a disability will have traits that are annoying to others, but many of those traits are because of learned behaviour. For those with a disability like cerebral palsy, they may have certain emotional character traits because they don’t have the capability to behave in any other way.
There are also many other conditions that have a similar effect, such as bipolar, memory loss, dyslexia, or any condition where the brain has been negatively affected in some way. It is very easy to make assumptions and fail to understand why people behave in the way they do. We genuinely need to stand back and be more accepting of people, particularly when it comes to disabilities.
Perhaps, we would also be much better placed to help others if we set out to ask and understand, instead of assuming why someone presents in a certain way. We must ask and simply not assume.