So all day today, I have been wracking my brain about how to write this post. I was at a lost. I agreed to participate in a Disability Blog Hop that was put together by Meriah With a Little Moxie. Today's topic is "tell me more about your connection with disability". I've really struggled with this one because I don't see Hailey as disabled and others that I know with a disability don't see themselves as disabled. Then I took a peek at Becca's post at The Bates Motel. It hit me...I was looking at disability and disabled like they were interchangeable...they are definitely not! Hailey has a disability but with guidance she is very able.
Once I had my head screwed on straight, I started the rest of my thought process. I never really knew anyone with Down syndrome or a disability until I had Hailey. Nope...that's not right. I had a couple of classmates from school that had disabilities. One had a heart defect similar to Hailey's, another girl had a birth defect where she was missing a couple of fingers on one hand, and another friend was involved in a terrible accident that resulted in her losing toes on both feet. These girls were role models to everyone (and they don't even realize what they did)....they were kind, hard-working, determined, athletic women. They didn't say "can't" and their disability stopped them from NOTHING! I have a cousin who cannot walk or talk. My aunt refused to put him in a facility for fear he wouldn't live. She has dedicated her life to caring for my cousin. She is an amazing woman who has shown me the strength and love that a mother holds for her child (long before I ever had children). Most recently (well...before Hailey), I have a very dear friend whose son has cerebral palsy. He is the most amazing 9 year old I have ever met. The word "can't" is not in his vocabulary. His mother was told he would never walk or participate in sports. He runs and plays like every other child in the neighborhood and he plays hockey. He is the kindest child I have ever met...he is the peacemaker...he shares...and my little Hailey seems to hold a special spot in his heart.
Obviously, the closest connection I have with disability, is my little peanut Hailey. Yes, she has a disability, but I truly believe given the right tools, this little girl will prove like all the other wonderful people I have met throughout my life that she is "able" and she will thrive! I'm following in the footsteps of the past, we will work hard. We have expectations for her...she isn't getting a pass because she has Down syndrome...I'm not telling her she "can't" because she has Down syndrome.
Little by little, I think society is starting to open their eyes about people with disabilities. They are starting to see beyond the disability to see the real person. I hope through my blog and all the other wonderful blogs...we will continue to help people see that a disability is just a trait of a person...not the entire person...and they get to know that person. I'm positive their life will be enriched in ways they would have never dreamed! I know mine has.