Recognze this date? Well, I do–today is the first anniversary of the IndpendenceChick blog. I’ve been writing for a whole year! Now, I haven’t picked my next topic yet, so this post won’t be long. But first, I’d like to thank those who have read any portion of this blog, even one post. I thank those of you who have commented, reblogged me, or given me a “pingback.” Keep it up–we’ve got to keep the message going.
And what is that message? Well, naturally, that people with disabilities are people, and that disability is just as normal, natural, and beautiful as skin colors, religions, sizes, nationalities, languages, and all those other things that make us “different.” But a year ago, I didn’t know that–at least, not as well as I could and should have. So today, in no particular order, I’d like to share with you the top ten things I’ve learned about disability, people with disabilities, and especially advocacy.
1. I’m not a perfect advocate. But it’s what is in my heart to do, and if I give up, maybe others will, too. But if I keep talking, so will others.
2. Disabilities come in all kinds of packages, even the ones I used to mistake for just plain bad decisions (i.e., obesity; I now know better, thanks to a great lady who told me about her grandson with Prader-Willi Syndrome).
3. What you CAN do will always matter more than what you CAN’T, and saying you can’t do something yet is okay.
4. Group homes, respite care, nursing homes, and their counterparts are options. They are not the only options in existence.
5. “Special” is a pretty version of “segregation.” This word deserves to be used in its original context–to mean good things.
6. Humans are not the ultimate authority on disability. That honor goes to God.
7. Even if a person with a disability doesn’t speak with his or her mouth, we need to listen–even harder than usual.
8. The answers are not “no,” “never,” “can’t,” and “unrealistic.” The answer is, “Let’s look at this another way.”
9. People with disabilities neither need nor deserve stereotypes and labels, whether those are outright negative or positive, but unintentionally hurtful.
10. There’s more to learn every day.
How about you guys? Want to weigh in on your favorite or least favorite posts (please be polite on the last one) or something you’ve learned? Lines are open…