If we all loved someone disabled

Virginia - Lakewood, Colorado
Entered on April 14, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe that every family in America; if not the world; should have or raise a disabled child. I believe that if a family does not have a disabled child then one should be issued to them.

There are enough to go around, and we will always be here, no matter what is done to eradicate us.

“When I was born,” to paraphrase a song, “the nurses all gathered ‘round, and gazed with wide wonder at [what] they had found.” There were no news headlines at my birth but if there had been they would have said, “Black woman gives birth to White baby”.

I am an albino. I suppose I could call myself a person with albinism. But that would mean that I have something, like a condition or a disease: and I don’t have anything. If I had something, I would be looking for a cure. I am not sick, nor do I have a disease. For that matter, neither does most of the disability community.

If every family had a child with a disability to raise from age 0 to 18, imagine what a great neighborhood it would be. How would the playgrounds change: the school system, the transportation, the attitudes of politicians?

If everyone grew up with a disabled family member, people, including the medical profession, would stop using words like “tragic” abnormal” diseased and unfortunate when describing us.

Terms like “wheelchair-bound” and “suffers from” would be seen for the inaccurate terms they are. A person is not wheelchair-bound. A wheelchair frees a person to get out into the community. As for suffering, we don’t suffer. I don’t suffer from my albinism.

A disabled child in every family would mean an end to disability prejudice as we know it. Imagine the end of the struggle to be included: an end of discrimination in the work force. Everything would be made accessible to everyone, all of the time, as a matter of course. People might learn sign language for the beauty of the language: not because it would help “some poor deaf person.” And imagine those deaf people going out anywhere they chose at any time knowing that at least half the people around them could communicate with them.

In the five + decades I have been on this earth, I have been talked down to, despite the fact that I have a Master’s degree, and talked about in the third person. It has been assumed that I was deaf, blind, sick, and sterile. Strangers have spoken to me as if I were a slow child. Any disability or difference brings out these odd assumptions in people.

I believe that if every family had someone with a disability in it we would start to be seen as people and as equals. Not as poor things who only deserve a space on the lowest step of society. Imagine that.