Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Epidemic of Normal

you may have noticed that I am a rather loud Advocate of The disability Acceptance movement.  
I believe strongly in the idea that people are people, not a collection of illnesses,traits, or behaviors. I do not believe in "disability, disorder, or the terms we bandy about to describe differences in experience.  

my youngest child has hemiparigic CP, He has a weakness on one side of his body due to a complication from an operation he had to fix a problem soon after his birth. He has a "disability" go ahead, and tell him that. He'll just look at you dumbfounded. The very Idea that you "NEED" both hands for things escapes him. He can put on his clothes with one hand, he eats and drinks with one hand, he plays with one hand, and draws, and catches balls, and does everything a normal 2 year old does...he just does it differently.

I wonder sometimes if he thinks that we are "less capable people" because we seem to need both hands to do things he can do with just one. different perspectives are good. I understand that to my son, I may look weak, and incapable, and I understand that to the rest of the "twohanders" he may look weak and incapable. he's not. he just see's a different world,

 One of my Favorite Quotes by Albert Einstien states: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

When we put labels on people that marginalize them, instead of build them up, we loose so much. We loose the understanding that a new perspective gives us, we loose our chance to experience something profound, and we loose our ability to grow as a species.  

"Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members -- the last, the least, the littlest." ~Cardinal Roger Mahony

  We have a problem here. We are treating people as "less","diseased",and "broken" this is a HUGE problem for everyone. In our desire to "help the weak" we have given ourselves the godly power to declare who is weak. and what is worse, is this is all carried out in the name of a dangerous ideal of "Normal"
Normal is an illusion. Normal is a statistical result, It's not real. There are no guidelines for "Normal" there are no diagnostic tests for "Normal" there is no medication, therapy, or product that can make someone " Normal" What we do instead, is hang onto an Ideal, and then try to make everyone else match it. We don't like how they are different from us, so we call them "Abnormal, diseased,sick,disabled,exc.." We try to Fix, Cure, Save, "Help", Include, and otherwise Find a place to put these "Abnormals" so we can feel non threatened.

 Truth is, Difference is threatening, We spend our lives as humans doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting the same result. Everyone does this. Everyone has their favorite chair, favorite food, and favorite route to work. We are creatures of habit. now what happens when you change it? when that person who has always done something the same way..see someone else doing it differently.....

 There are two ways to handle this problem. You can learn another way, a different way, or you can just dismiss it as "wrong" and go back to doing what you have always done. Most people dismiss it, or declare it as "wrong" or "sick", some people even try to destroy it because it makes them so uncomfortable. Yet others enjoy learning a new way, they gravitate towards a new perspective, they can see a different world. They have Empathy. We need to do more to encourage the 2nd response out of humanity. The part of humanity that goes " oh, I never thought of it like that before" and learns a New way.

 I have a set of traits that make me who I am, And so do you. They do not make me "sick" "broken" "abnormal" They make me Different. I'm Different, just like you are Different. That is what unites us. That is what "defines us" We are All the same. We are all human, we all have our talents and our struggles, We have different ideas, opinions, beliefs, and cultures, but we are all on this planet together, so we need to learn to Accept Differences, not Erase, hide, or Cure them. If a person is sick, It is causing them a problem. If A person is Struggling It's causing them a problem. But If someone sees the world differently, does things differently, looks different, sounds different, That is not their problem. Their problems are their problems, just like your problems are your problems.

 I am not of the mind that I need to MAKE my child a "twohander" I will do everything that I can to help him understand what it's like to be a "twohander" and maybe, maybe, he may try it out for a while. But he will always see the "twohander" world as a one handed person, even if he gains full mobility of his hand back. It's just who he is.

 Dont expect people who are "different" to fit into your idea of "normal" They cant, they can only "fit" in theirs.

 The fact that we all are different makes us all the same, that is our common ground.

We need Acceptance, We need understanding, and most of all We need a new way of looking at the world and the people in it.

I will not make my son behave like a "twohander" he isnt one. I can show him the "twohander" world, and so If he ever choses to do things the "towhander" way, he can. But I want him to be able to show others "his way" the "onehander" way. I want people to accept and honor his talents, and help him through his struggles...

Not because he has a "disability" but because he is a Human Being.

1 comment:

  1. Happy to be different right there with you. Keep sharing your perspective I love it!