As we approached the end of February,my secretary, Meg, came to me with an unusual amount of hesitance. I could tell she was noticeably uncomfortable approaching the March topic. You see, she knows about my personal past. She knows about the fact that when I was a baby, I did not crawl until I was 21 months old. She knows that I was born with asthma. After working with me for many years now, she knows that I did not talk until AFTER I was 2 years old. My secretary even knows about my dyslexia, and that I must read things many times over before I can remember what I have read. She knows I languished around the bottom of all of my classes while in school, and she also knows I was classified as "mildly retarded" back in the 1950's, when I was in elementary school.
Meg knew the March topic was going to be a very personal and sensitive subject for me.
Though her concerns were justified, I must admit to finding extra support and inspiration in having the opportunity to say a few words about one of my favorite sayings:
"Normal is overrated".
Life has shown me that truer words have never been spoken. Daily, I am astounded at the level of stupidity and foolish behavior of people who are considered "NORMAL" by society.
After working many years with people on the autism spectrum, as well as in dementia and alzheimer units, I have noticed a wide variety of abilities.
Working in hospitals as well as teaching exercise to an assortment of people with special needs, I no longer know what "normal" is supposed to look like.
I have witnessed people, especially seniors, who have been written off as helpless and as being unable to contribute to society, yet they display remarkable abilities in many areas, both mentally and physically .
The man is the previous clip has no arms, yet he plays the guitar, brushes his teeth, and feeds himself with his feet .
When I saw that, I realized that this man is ABLE to do something that I can not do, so am I considered disabled?
Is this man disabled because he can't play the guitar with his fingers, or are we disabled because we can't play the guitar with our toes ?
Different seasons in life and different circumstance will change, but at the end of the day, we all have abilities.
We are all "ABLE". We are all ABLE to do SOMETHING and yet, we all have some things we are unable to do.
Attitude ultimately determines ability.
I think we need to look at changing the concept of disability. Since we are all disabled in some way, to a certain extent, maybe we can change the perception of the word, so that it holds no connotation or denotation as meaning less than and or lacking.
They all have one thing in common...
They all end in ABLE.
Able is never the end of anything. Able is, intrinsically, the beginning.
Sure, writing this article was a little extra challenging. Remembering back to the women in our church when I would hear them whisper,
"Lorraine's boy ? Yeah, dat one name Tony ? he a little, 'slow in the head',,,,,but dat boy gotta pretty smile."
For the record, I happen to agree with the church ladies .
I am slow, I am VERY slow compared to many other people, however, life has clearly shown me that ABLE (ability) is not measured by speed .
By-the-way,,,,,,,,, the church ladies were also right about something else,
I do have a pretty smile ...... LOL
Blessings in good health,
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