My name is Salini, I met Paul 3 years ago on a website call Badoo, we started out talking as friends, he told me a couple days after that he uses a wheelchair to get around and he has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. We continue talking and eventually feelings started to develop. I did have to the back of my head if I was prepared to handle a relationship like this, where things would be different and I would have to adjust my life accordingly to suit Paul's needs. I decided to go with the flow and see how things turned out. I do not have a disability myself nor have I had any experience in caring for someone with a physical disability this extent where Paul is unable to walk.
Three years down the line here we are but it hasn't been easy. We have had so many opposition from people why we shouldn't be together, I've had people told me that I was in my 30s why am I giving up so much to be with Paul, that I was going to miss out in life having to 'look after him 24/7'
I've also been mistaken for his care taker rather than his girlfriend, that's the mindset people have these days, the stigma attached to people with disabilities, they cannot have a healthy relationship they say or no one wants to be with someone who cannot walk. NEWSFLASH! SALINI DOES AND I WILL NOT TRADE PAUL FOR ANYONE.
We have been hell and probably still do with the challenges that comes with hydrocephalus and the things he is restricted to doing, but when you love someone you stick it out and you support them even if the rest of the world has given up on them because they are your world. Do not judge people's capabilities base on physical or mental disability, they are people, a real person who has feeling, a person who has a voice of their own, a person who deserves every opportunity that life offers a non disabled person and I strongly believe in equal opportunities, even tho their physical ability may restrict them from doing something please let them have a go at it, the same applies, you will never know if you don't try.
Back to Paul and I, Paul and I now do charity work for a charity call SHINE, the money we raise is aimed at helping those you are affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Our son Matthew also recently joined our team to make a difference to those who suffer from this birth defect.
Paul moved in with us about 8 months ago which was also a challenge has Paul has always depended on his mother, now he is settled in, but it took a while for him as he has never had to live life independently and running a house, his mother did all that for him.
Now Paul is living independently, paying his own bills, making financial decisions for our family and I am so very proud of him.
As I look back to when I first met Paul he as come a long way as a man, because someone is disabled it doesn't mean they have to be treated as a child because they have a slight 'learning disability'. They are not stupid, in fact some people with learning disabilities are so intelligent in doing other things, example my Paul is diagnosed with LD, However he can spell better than me, He is good at problem solving in math, Paul used to play the steel drums and remembered every note, I can go on and on the things he is good at, so learning disability doesn't mean 'stupid' or 'uneducated' the way some people perceive it. Stop judging.
Thank you all who have supported us in our relationship and the work we are doing for charity.
Salini and Paul and Matthew