Wednesday, December 03, 2008

International Day of Persons with Disabilities - 3 December

did you know that today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities? neither did i! but i'm glad i found out. cuz you know, i have a son with angelman syndrome, a rare genetic disability he was born with 11 years ago, and then the hubster had his accident 5 years ago, coming up on 6 years, which left him visually impaired, or as we like to joke: "mostly" blind. (i don't know why that strikes us as funny, but it does)

i knew very little about disabilities and how they affected people and their families until my own family got up close and personal with disabilities. i have learned alot in the last 11 years, and yet i'm still learning and have so much more to learn. even today, i do things without thinking that drives my hubby bonkers. at times, i don't really have any idea of how little he can see, cuz he does so well. and well, he just doesn't LOOK blind. with my son, i have the opposite problem. i tend to do too much for him, cuz there is no mistaking that he has issues. and i don't push him enough to do more for himself. i am always amazed at how much he can do, if he really wants to, whether its finding the granola box when he's hungry after dinner, working the tv and dvd player, or getting his needs across to me without words.

so how bout you? know anyone with a disability? live with someone? i'd love to hear your story in the comments. and lets celebrate today those we know and love who are living with a disability. they are so much more than their diagnoses!


Mary Ann said...

My brother was born deaf. My parents did make the decision when he was first diagnosed(about 18 months old) to give learning to talk a shot since there was a glimmer of hope that would be possible. He picked up on that so quickly and has been able to live a very normal life because of being able to communicate with everyone(sometimes he's hard to understand, especially if you aren't used to him). Now he's been learning to sign because he has a group of deaf friends that he wants to be able to communicate with! Just yesterday he emailed me to let me know that he now has a phone number where he can be reached-an updated form of the TTY I believe. Text-messaging and email was a great invention for the hearing impaired and has been a life-saver for our family in keeping in touch with him but now having his own phone number where they contact him by email if he has a call is so awesome. I could tell that this brings him to a new level of independence. He was so happy to be able to make a bunch of calls for himself yesterday! Something we take for granted. I was always protective of him and his "interpreter" growing up(he's 2 years older than I).

My husband was born with spina bifida. He also lives a very normal life and is able to walk with leg braces and drive a car normally-2 things that they said he could never do. He loves to prove the doctors wrong! He does live with some difficulties and complications that he is used to because of having lived with them for so long. I had a difficult time with some of it after we were married. It has made our lives a little more complicated and challenging at times. As in every marriage, there was a major adjustment period as I got used to the different little things about his disability that were different than I was used to. I'm fine with it now-it was just a major adjustment for me.

One thing I appreciate about his parents is that they did not let him use his disability as an excuse. Of course, there are some things he simply cannot do but there are a lot of things that he can do is he sets his mind to it. He played Little League as a kid but his mom did draw the line at football.:-)

The outsider may not be able to see beyond the disability. But to family or a friend, this person is a real person with real talents and a unique personality just like anyone else. I rarely think about my husband or brother being disabled.

Sorry about the book in your comments, but thought I would share about the special people in my life!

Deryk and Jo said...

Oh Gail, I've always appreciated those who have learned to overcome the trials of a disability. My greatest inspirations come from those with disabilities, if they can be happy and succeed even with limitations, then what should stop me? My sweet deceased brother was born with so many disabilities, he was deaf (which explains my love for the deaf and desire to teach them) he also had cerebal palsy, hydrocephalis, and many more disabilities. My mom says that he was a happy and genuine boy--so much like your little Joe. I have learned, in working with children with disabilities, that if they can be happy, I can be happy no matter what life brings. Even now I get a little emotional thinking about how the children I have worked with have influenced me for the good and have changed my way of thinking and how much I appreciate my health, and the goodness of my loving Father in Heaven. He truly is mindful of all His children!!