Thursday, 20 April 2017

He is perfect.. and he has a disability


A friend of mine went to a museum not long ago and had the following conversation when she got the the ticket desk.  I think it tells some interesting truths.

Friend: One adult, two OAP's, two children, one of whom has a disability and a carer please.

Ticket person: Which of your children has a disability?

Friend: This one

Ticket person: He looks perfect to me.

Friend:  He is perfect but he also has a disability!

And reluctantly my friend was given her concessionary rates.

Now, I'll be honest.  I remember being at a particular attraction where the person behind the desk looked at my kids and then ask for proof of disability.  I have absolutely no problem at all with showing evidence for my kids disabilities. But I remember the incident because after we got through the gate I turned to my husband and said something along the lines of... "If one of the kids had been holding crutch I bet I wouldn't have been asked for evidence," whilst mumbling to myself that a crutch in and of itself doesn't necessarily indicate a disability.

It was several years ago now and perhaps I wasn't having the best day.  But I think my friends experience perhaps characterises a still common misconception about what 'disability looks like', because of course, it does not necessarily look like anything in particular.

This morning for example, one of my kids disabilities looks like a child repeated jumping up and down... and the other one's is represented by just repeatedly talking. There are soo many disabilities whether that be down to genetics, conditions or illnesses that can appear invisible.

You can't necessarily tell by looking at someone if they have difficulty hearing, seeing or reading,  if they become excessively tired, struggle with stairs, or are overloaded by crowds.  None of these would be obvious by sight, and although this blog is mostly about autism and ADHD,  I can tell you that the child in the example above didn't have any of our family conditions.  But as his disability was invisible, it could have been.

It can be easy, to be like I was, those years ago, and grumble when people don't see it.  And this is where I applaud my friend, and hope that in similar circumstance I would do the same.  Declare my child as perfect.

For yes, they have a disability but this does not negate their person.  My kids may not speak perfect English and their somewhat reddish hair can be unruly at times, but these imperfections are not actual flaws.  And neither their autism or their disabilities.  For perfect people can have disabilities just like the imperfect do, whether you can see them or not.

From an imperfect mum to perfect kids xxx





13 comments:

  1. Yes...thank you! I have struggled lately with the word...disability. How could I claim DLA for PanKwake or those concessions if I truly believe my child is 'perfect' just as she is. I truly appreciate this blog giving me something to consider as I deal with that dilemma.

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  2. Perfect imperfections. Society has a long way to go to rule out all of these so called imperfections we've built up over the years x

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  3. Oh my days I wonder whether you went to the same theme park as me where I had to empty my bag for proof. There were words after! Or the looks from the parents when we used a fasttrack ticket at another park "why is he jumping to the front of the queue?" I often wonder whether it's best to keep quiet or politely educate! #SpectrumSunday

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  4. I'd have shown less restraint I'm afraid. Stick my lad in a queue and then we'll speak again lol. Xx

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  5. Sadly it is an issue on many levels I have various unseen disabilities and remember trying to park as close as I could to a local shop as the walk itself could take me days to recover. Despite having a disabled badge for my car after a long battle a policeman actual stopped me and said you dont look disabled what is your disability. I actually didnt know what to say but kindly a local shop owner who knows me stood up for me

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  6. Another well-said post on an issue that needs to be addressed. Loving your blog... and your strength. Keep at it!
    From an imperfect mum to perfect kids xxx - beautiful...
    #ablogginggoodtime

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  7. Totally and utterly beautiful. Very very well said! #PosrsFromTheHeart

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  8. Great post and such a shame that 1 bad apple ruins it for everyone else #PostsFromTheHeart

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  9. wow I wouldnt have been as restrained as you.Well said mama!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime and don't forget to join us this Thurs.

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  10. This is so well said. My daughter isn't disabled but she has highly complex medical needs. I've lost count of the number of people who've said, "You wouldn't think there's anything wrong with her" or "You just forget that there's anything wrong, don't you." Actually no - I never forget - she (we) have daily battles that most of the population have no idea about. Just because she "looks fine" to you does not mean that her life isn't a lot harder and more complicated than you could ever imagine. I know they mean it nicely, but it's really hard to smile and let it wash over you.

    I think your friends' response is fabulous! Our kids are perfect - they are not defined by their disability. Fab post #ablogginggoodtime

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  11. Lovely response! It's so much 'easier' for us now that EJ has an obviously wheelchair looking wheelchair. Unfortunately people do jump to 'judging the book by the cover' type conclusions so easily :(
    Thank you so much for joining #AccessLinky x

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