Opportunity in disguise
My journey with a disability started from the moment I was born, and while it has not been a long one, it has been very interesting, mainly because I’ve been able to develop a sense of awareness that is not very common in people that do not have a disability. In other words, I live a life within a spectrum that only covers 10% of the world’s population.
This means that I have come to encounter situations and events that seem odd or unusual, or even unimaginable to an average person in our society, but that have always been part of day to day life for myself and for the people who are closest to me. Examples of this range from being treated differently to others by people who don´t know me, to requiring help from someone when it comes to my morning and night routine.
However, I find that while, I’ve grown used to living in a world that isn’t yet fully inclusive of disability or that isn´t as accessible as it could be, there is still a sense of wonder.
It’s safe to say that, even when a life with a disability has its fair share of trials and tribulations, pros and cons, the question that often comes to mind is, how do other people go through life with a disability?
The reason for this is that, with me being a second-generation woman with a disability in my family, with my mother having been the first, life for my family and me has been a journey, not only of challenge and discovery, but of opportunity as well.
Not only does the fact that my family and closest friends are more accustomed to the different needs of people with disabilities. They helped me see the importance of accepting and respecting oneself and others, regardless of any particular distinction, but also, it has put all of us at an advantage, because of my relatives’ prior experiences with my mother, and the knowledge that they acquired through the years, the quality of life they have given me, alongside the assistive devises they’ve provided, such as an electric wheelchair or a relatively accessible home and vehicle, made me understand the importance of why there is a need for everyone to realise that even though there are different types and concepts of accessibility and accessible living and how international regulations and laws help us all to be more inclusive, but that is not enough. There is a bigger picture that is not always seen; it shows, not only how disability affects those who have it or the closest people to them, but how it opens the door to an opportunity for change.
Through disability we can all develop a different viewpoint on what we consider to be societal norms and commonalities, by expanding our horizons on the idea of a human life experience, or even on what we find acceptable and unacceptable. In this way our senses of belonging, of pride and creativity may differ from what it is today, and bring to the table different ways of opening up to a great variety of possibilities in science, art, medicine, politics, social diversity and lifestyle for everyone in our communities.
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