So let’s define being normal: having a head, two hands, two legs. Being able to speak, hear, see, and walk. Having a minimum height. Reaching expected milestones while growing.
Other than that, you are considered abnormal, or a handicapped person. So if you have one limb missing, one sense missing, if you need a wheel chair or a stick to go around, if you have epilepsy or autism, down syndrome, Asperger’s or Prader-Willi syndrome, if you have cerebral palsy or you stutter or you are dyslexic, if you are any of those you are abnormal or a handicap.
With this, comes our expectations of you, that you have limited abilities, you cannot reach high, you cannot think properly and you can never be independent… why? Because of our own mind disability!
We have defined being “normal” in a very narrow way that we cannot see outside its boundaries…. Anything different than that is seen as disability rather than a diversity…
Let’s look around us, how many of those “handicapped people” have we included in our lives? How do we treat them? Do we invite a blind person to go watch a show with us? Or do we invite a person on a wheel chair for a walk? Do we start a serious conversation with an autistic person? Do we assign a real responsibility to a person with down syndrome?
Just because we think “they” cannot doesn’t mean they cannot… it is our own mind that can’t indeed!
As long as we see ourselves as “us” and “them”, we haven’t really included them in our lives…
Hellen Keller was deaf and blind. A Harvard graduate, she was an author, a political activist and a lecturer. She wrote 12 books. I haven’t even written one book myself! She said: “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings.”
Stephen Hopkins had cerebral palsy, Albert Einstein and Agatha Christie were dyslexic, Stephen Hawking was on a wheel chair and diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Thomas Edison was deaf. Bruce Willis, Tiger Woods and Julia Roberts had stuttering problems during childhood. Luke Zimmerman- an actor, Angela Bachiller- a councilwoman and Michael Johnson – a painter are diagnosed with down syndrome.
Julie Causton-Theoharis, a special education professor, says: "Inclusion is a way of thinking, a way of being, and a way of making decisions about helping everyone belong”
And Robert M. Hensel, said: “We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has, and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being.”
So one more time…. Let’s define being normal!
Rania Hammoud, ACC,Life Coach
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