Think As if You Were in the Shoes of a Person with Disabilities
Think long and hard about this: What if you had down syndrome? What if you had autism? What if you had cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound? What if you had speech impediments? What if you had a learning disability? What if you had ADD or ADHD? What if you were blind? What if you were deaf? What if you were deaf and blind? What if you were nonverbal and did not know how to communicate your needs and wants? These are some questions I think to myself as a teacher of special needs children, a mother and a person.
Put yourself in the shoes of these children with these disabilities and imagine your life and the world around you. How would you feel? Would you feel anxious, scared, confused, frustrated, angry or upset? What are your thoughts? Would you think you were different, odd, or left out?
Sometimes, when I go out on field trips or on walks with my students, I see people around us stare at my students. Some people are not used to seeing my students or simply do not know what to think of them. Some people approach us and greet the students and some people stare and walk away. Without knowledge, awareness and exposure to people with disabilities, you might be curious and will have questions and not know how it is to have the disabilities mentioned above. Educate, learn and welcome the knowledge that you may not have about these special people. You will see that people with disabilities face challenges that others without disabilities don’t face. You will see that some people with disabilities can impress you and are able to do and communicate a lot better than you think. You will also see that some some people with disabilities have physical disabilities, others have cognitive disabilities and some have both physical and cognitive disabilities. Furthermore, you will see that with the right support, education, endurance and medical help, some people with disabilities are able to lead regular and independent lives. Some ways to educate and expose yourself is by volunteering in a school or a hospital, talk to families with children who have special needs and do not hesitate to ask questions. Ask questions with respect as you would want that same respect if asked about you. Be proactive!
Below are pictures taken from Google Images. It shows a child having speech therapy, a child in a wheelchair, a child with downs syndrome and a child with autism.