We need to normalise disability. I have cerebral palsy and I am not in a wheelchair. It’s common for people to associate cerebral palsy with a wheelchair. As a child, I associated cerebral palsy with it, long before I was diagnosed with it.
Also, as a small child I remember seeing people with disabilities and thinking I didn’t know how to approach them. But anyone who deals with a disability, will tell you they want to be spoken to normally and treated like everyone else.
When it comes to disability, there are different ways an individual can be affected, depending on their particular brain damage and differing degrees of severity. It is important we come to understand disability in its wider context, and not simply assume, or think one way.
It is important to people like myself who deal with a disability, to know other people see me as normal. People need to know we are normal, like everyone, we also have needs, we may just present differently and that is to be expected. But it is because we present differently that we get stared at from time to time, or have comments made about us.
When it comes to disability, it’s easy to assume. People may sometimes assume before they’ve even spoken to us that we are automatically intellectually impaired and that’s not true. We are mentally aware of what is going on around us.
Physically we may struggle to get ourselves around, but we are completely aware of what we see, hear and think. It is exactly why normalising disability is important and why we should be treated like everyone else and with respect.