Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm a person, not a condition

Today is the 20th anniversary of the signing, by George H.W. Bush, of the People with Disabilities Act. This article explores the how attitudes have changed, and how far we still need to go.

A moving article.

Some of my favorite people have disabled bodies, but brilliant minds and sparkling personalities. I saw this with my mother, people thought because her body was broken, so was her mind. I see this in the nursing home where I work, residents discounted or pitied because they have various disabilities. People give up on others because they are uncomfortable.

This article says that attitudes will change when children have an opportunity to feel comfortable around disabled people:

I don't think most parents purposely instill discrimination in their children. I
think it's just that most young children are not exposed to anyone with
disabilities and therefore lack the familiarity that makes them comfortable
around someone different from them.

Parents need to look for
opportunities to introduce their children to community members with
disabilities, laying a foundation for inclusion, acceptance and friendship.

Well, now, isn't that easy enough? How hard is it to perform random acts of kindness for disabled people we encounter? How difficult is it to seek out friendships?

Maybe in honor of today's anniversary, you could join me in a pledge to cultivate relationships between our children and the disabled. If you think you do not know anyone, call the ARC or the CP foundation. Tell them you read the article linked above, and you want to do your part to make your children comfortable around disabilities, and aware of the needs of the disabled community. Tell them you want to cultivate friendships, and ask them to recommend someone who would welcome the friendship of your children, because you want it to be a positive experience for all involved. Then, follow through with regular visits, letters, and phone calls. Build those relationships and do your part toward making the future better, through your children.

Are you with me? God bless you.
For photo credit, click the image.

1 comment:

Alexandra said...

I thought this country had moved beyond this, but I've noticed the same. People still judge disabilities harshly.

Offering up prayers for your husband's job interviews and for your family's health.