Our eyes can play tricks on us. They can see one thing, but miss another. This unfortunately, happens way too often when someone sees a person with a disability.
I get it. It’s something different. Like the platypus is different from a duck. Or a weeping willow is different from an oak tree. We see these differences and take notice. However, we miss the most basic element. There is so much more than what you see to any person or thing. For example, an oak tree can live over 1,000 years. While most mammals give birth, the platypus lays eggs.
On the outside I look like I have a disability, oh, but I am so much more. I love video games, photography, graphic design, writing (this you probably couldn’t tell from reading this) and so much more. I’ve traveled and won awards. I’ve been a Big Brother and swam in the ocean. When you look beyond the visual and see the whole person, there is so much more to learn.
People with disabilities have been presidents, scientists, actors, painters, taxi cab drivers, mothers, fathers, black, white, christian, atheists, and from all over the globe. Don’t let your eyes fool you. We’re all humans, just shaped and do things differently. Everyone does. Even learning is done differently by all, not just people with disabilities. Some are visual learners, some are readers, some learn best by doing things hands on.
How, do you say, can you clearly see a person with a disability. Get to know them. Walk with them, hang with them, party with them if you so choose. You don’t necessarily need to know the specifics of their disability right away. You need to learn who they are on the inside. What they like. What are their favorite things. (Yum, pizza!) You’ll learn more about the exterior as you go along and hopefully will assist in removing barriers and making life enjoyable for you and them.