Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Invisible Disabilities: Why Can't People Understand?

It amazes me when people tell me, matter-of-factly,  that my children do not look disabled. I actually had an intense conversation with a friend where he blatantly told me that there was nothing wrong with my sons and if he was in a relationship with me, I would not be saying that my children have autism. He went on to point out that when he was a child, his mother told him that he could be anything he wanted to be. He was implying that a)I was somehow a bad mother for saying my children have autism and b) children with autism cannot also be successful.

The sad part about all of this is that it isn't uncommon for people to make these types of comments when a disability dies not manifest itself in a physical way. Saying little Johnny doesn't look disabled doesn't change the facts. Furthermore, it's insulting to a parent to make such statements.

I,  for one, have nothing to gain by saying my children have autism. I am not receiving any disability benefits ( but if I was, so what?) nor am I exhalted to some higher level of being. The fact is, all disabilities are not visible. People should be more respectful and practice more compassion when talking to others about their child's state of being. I never associate autism with anything negative nor do I want it to define who my children are as human beings.

We live in a society that still has a long way to go when it comes to disability awareness and acceptance...and I intend to remain on the frontlines when it comes to raising awareness.

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