Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Living with a disability

I attended the San Gabriel Valley (CA) Disability coalition meeting today. I learned new things and met new people who offer many services with those living with disabilities. One of the important points of the meeting was to remind us all, whether we are living with a disability ourselves, or advocate for someone who does, or offer services to the disabled, there are many different types of disabilities, from the person who is in a wheelchair, who has a very visible type of disability, to those who live with unseen disabilities, cognitive in nature. My daughter for example, looks like a typical young adult, but once she starts talking, you notice her speech delay. Sometimes those who have the more hidden disabilities can be treated with impatience and bullying. The last time we traveled we took a plane which is very full, and so we opted to board when the airline announced boarding for anyone who needed a bit of extra time. My daughter does need extra time due to her hidden disability but I wondered if the people watching us board understood this. I wonder too if there have been times I have been impatient with those who might not look like someone who has a disability, perhaps I have treated others more harshly than I might if the disability was apparent. How about you? Perhaps next time someone is acting a bit different than our expectations we might wonder if they too have a disability and we can be a bit more patient.

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