Tagged with: advocate children disabilities education kids life parents
I firmly believe in taking stares and questions and turning them into a chance to educate others about disabilities and life with one. At least once a day in public I get a quizzical stare and usually soon to follow, a guardian squelching their child. The adult often times reprimands the child and is too embarrassed to look at me. At that point if I have time I’ll calm down the adult and reassure them that it is all right to ask questions. I empathize with the kids because I was a curious child myself always getting into trouble (still am). Depending on the child’s age I ask them a simple question like ‟what’s your name?” or ‟how old are you?”. I like to start by asking the child a simple question because I find that it makes them less intimidated by my chair. Next I usually proceed by explaining why I use a motorized wheelchair and a BASIC history and definition about my Muscular Dystrophy. Then I tell them about my life today, hobbies, college, social life etc. and even though it’s different from an able body’s lifestyle it is just as grand and I don’t miss a beat. Finally I’ll answer any and all questions and offer them a ride on my chair (of course with parental permission and guidance). Also I can’t speak for others, but I try to touch on different disabilities and differences in general. I know talking to two-three kids per week doesn’t make a huge difference, but I’d like to think it is one more child open-mined to disabilities and differences. Typically the adult learns as much as the child and has just as many questions. Most people apologize for stopping me, but honestly I love it. Not only do I get to talk about what I know best, me, but also I get to educate others. I especially love teaching children because they’re always honest and if I can educate them then I start chopping down the tree of naivety because they can educate the next generation. I continuously say start educating with the youngest and go up. I’ve talked to numerous aides of mine who are African-American. They would rather have people come out and ask them about their life and how they feel discriminated against on a daily basis rather than whisper and have false information circulating. Please as you go about your day, first remember to educate others on disabilities and differences because it’s the only way to tear down the wall of bigotry. Secondly, if you have a question about another minority group do not suppress it because I guarantee there is going to be someone who would love to answer it. Embrace your inner-child! Finally, when interacting with others always be respectful because no matter the differences we are all humans with emotions and need acceptance and love. What are your thoughts?