Life truly is a lesson and we can learn so much from it regardless of who we are, I’ve always thought that in some ways my disability has taught me so many great lessons that I feel I might not of learn’t had it not been for my disability. I feel that my disability has helped separate out the good, the bad and the ugly throughout my life and for that I’m thankful.
As a lot of you will know I’ve grown up attending specialist education all of my life this teamed with a family that never made a big deal of things meant that disability and difference has never been an issue to me, it was just the norm. In fact my disability has never caused me too much of a problem it has always been the people in the world around me and how they perceived it that made it into a problem, anyone out there who has a disability or illness will know that there is only so much of the rude stares and snide comments you can take before it starts to hurt you and dent your confidence.
It’s not so much the fact that people stare though I mean I’m as nosey as the next person and if I see something that catches my attention I can’t help but have a quick glance, if you’re a child who hasn’t experienced a wheelchair/disability before then of course you’re going to be curious, it’s just natural. It’s adults staring and making it blatantly obvious that really starts to bug me, I mean you are an adult you should know so much better than to be ignorant!
So although you’d be forgiven for thinking that children would make more of a big deal out of disability because it’s something they may not of experienced before, it is actually adults who seem to be judgemental and if the world was full of children then I believe it would honestly be a better place!
As a child I went out in the street and played with other children getting involved in every game they played without anyone bating an eyelid, to the other children I was just ‘Chelle’ my disabilities or abilities were never an issue, Why? because children just see another child and not another child with a disability. Children don’t judge or over think they just seem to accept and one of the things I love most about children is that if they don’t understand they will question, something I wish more adults would do. I would have so much more respect for anyone who was just upfront and if they had a question about my disability then I would be 100% be happy to answer them and move on, instead of snide comments or funny looks.
I love how children don’t see disability or any other subject as embarrassing or a big taboo, one of my favourite examples of this is when I was working in a local primary school with year 4 children. A child came up to me and out of the blue just said “Miss, what’s wrong with your leg?” which I found lovely and began to answer him when his teacher came along and told him off for apparently being rude. In my opinion this said a lot more about the teacher than about the child himself, I was always told that if I don’t know or understand something then I should ask and that is exactly how I believe it should be. In my opinion shouting at a child for being curious and open gives them the impression that what they’re questioning is wrong, which just isn’t true children should be encouraged to explore and understand diversity just like they would with any other subject.
So if everybody saw disability and diversity in the same light as children do then I whole heartedly believe that the world would be a lot more open, honest and happier world too live in!