Talking about people with disabilities is uncomfortable as most of us do not feel equipped on what we are supposed to say. For example, do we call them disabled or differently-abled or specially abled? Assuming people with disabilities live inferior lives, we sometimes take a pass at discussing them. However, recent studies suggest that people with disabilities tactfully report a quality of life as good as, or sometimes even better than, that of non-disabled people.
Here are seven things that one of our directors, Miss Krupa Paulson, learned from people with disabilities:
#1. People with disabilities embrace life:
Having a disability can have an impact on your lifespan. People with disabilities (intellectual and physical) may not live as long as others, but they figured out the secret to life — to live in the present and enjoy each day as if it were their last. We intentionally try to do this in our own way but are usually unsuccessful. People with disabilities, however, have skilled the art of embracing life, from enjoying the sun to a warm cup of tea, they know how hard life can be so they have mastered the art to embrace life– the good and the bad.
#2. People with disabilities desire relationships:
Human beings are social animals, irrespective of our environment, we are wired to love and be nurtured. People with disabilities are no different; the desire to belong and be loved as a person is the source of their emotional development. However, many people with disabilities are regarded as a failure or a mistake by their family and peers and therefore are profoundly affected at a deeper level. In order for them to feel fulfilled, they first need to feel belonged and encouraged. If you make friends with a person with a disability, you make a friend for life.
#3. People with disabilities are gifted:
The people who walk through our doors at proVISION ASIA have great ingenuity and talent. When we talk to them, we can see the excitement in their eyes– their passion catches on. Sometimes we wonder if we are the ones who are disabled. If only we could practice encouragement and inspire hope, we would see future world changers with disabilities
#4. People with disabilities are patient:
Serving people with disabilities sometimes is a slow process. It takes longer to travel from point A to point B. It takes time to watch a child write even the first letter of their name, but the outcome is always amazing and we celebrate. It’s wonderful to watch the child master something that they’ve worked all year for or to see someone independently move for the very first time. It is an explainable feeling. They will teach you that sometimes things take time and it’s A-OK.
#5. People with disabilities are persistent:
The ability to hold on and get back up when you are knocked down is essential for all of us. People with disabilities portray this in their everyday lives. Their skill to deal with the naysayers even when there are setbacks is admirable. “The more we persist the more successful we become”, says Shahina, an international weightlifting champion who is affected by Polio. This inspires us to not give up and be our best selves every day.
#6. People with disabilities have childlike wonder:
Arun, at 34 years old, is a firm believer in Santa Claus. This will never change. One glimpse of Santa leaves him in a state of manic delight. Though Arun is cognitively delayed and behaves more like a 5-year-old, he is unlike a child in many ways. He understands more about life and how things work than a young child would. But in other ways, his hobbies, belief and favorite things all fill him with childlike wonder. Find something in your life that makes you feel as young and innocent as possible, and hold on to it. Let yourself act immature if it will make you smile more.
#7. People with disabilities celebrate life:
They are enthralled about mundane things like eating, high-fives and watching TV. People with disability show us that we don’t need to have a promotion or win a game to celebrate; we can still celebrate while we are in pain. When was the last time you celebrated the gift of eating independently?
Our sincere hope is that you, welcome people with disabilities into your lives or maybe into your hearts and thoughts. These little bits of wisdom we’ve gathered from working with them will help empower you to embrace this incredible community of people! Stay Blessed!