One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a disabled person is about equality. I don’t know how it is for anyone else, but for me, I was told from very early on by many people and family members that I should take advantage of all I can as it was “owed” to me. I learned fairly early that wasn’t true, and I am so happy I learned this early in my life. Here are my conclusions: We human beings are all born naked, helpless and alone. Each baby is frail in some way and will have deficits if left unattended. Each child is born literally with nothing but their bodies.
Ultimately, what has to occur to grow a child is they need care, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Equality in need is what we all have in common when we enter this world. When all the needs are met, no matter what the problem is, the child will grow into an adult who will function at his or her highest level. Believing the world owes us something because we were born broken is not only wrong thinking, but is harmful and suppresses the growth process. Children need to participate in the process of becoming the best they can be. Parents need to teach their children to aspire to be and do the best they can with what they have. The world outside is very, very difficult for most people and the difficulties are multiplied for people with disabilities. There is much ignorance to overcome, and it cannot be done through anger, frustration and fear.
Children can be taught to concentrate on their strengths and use them to rise to any occasion. They will fail, as everyone does, but that failure can be turned to a stepping stone to success. The worst thing, in my opinion, that can be done to a disabled child is allowing them to believe they should be “given a break” because they are not up to the task whatever the task may be.
This is not at all easy for either the child or parents, but if the goal is rearing a child to a fully functional human adult with all that this life entails, then easy is not possible. As my mother always reminded me, “Cecilia, nothing worth achieving is easy!” She said I would find that the more difficult the task to complete, the more satisfaction which can be gained and celebrated.