Having any physical disability as a child is difficult enough, but being part of a family may make it twice as difficult at times, because it’s easy to feel the odd one out, particularly if our disability singles us out.
In my case, although comparisons were not explicitly being made, my disability was primarily ignored and it was assumed I was lazy because I failed to make significant headway in school.
It was assumed that I wasn’t trying that I was capable of learning, but that I was lazy. The reality is that I wasn’t any lazier to learn than anyone else, but with significant brain damage and a lack of cognitive function, I struggled. I believe there is a difference.
I felt defeated and guilty for a lack of achievement, which I carried for years. Like it was my fault. Without knowing about or understanding and knowing why I struggled, it brought more frustrations into the equation and that made it even more difficult for me. Eventually I gave up in school.
For those of us who deal with a disability, there will always be things that we can’t do, but with a stigma in society around our abilities, this will always make things harder for us because we know we’re doing more than our best.
There needs to be more understanding in families, in society too. For many of us in this situation, there is often too much assuming going on, with not an awful lot of knowing.