Did you know that there are 1 billion people in the world that have some or the other kind of disability?
Maddie, a 17-year-old from south of UK is one such person who was diagnosed with Dyspraxia when she was just 14. Dyspraxia is a developmental disorder that interferes with the coordination of all the motor movements. Running, brisk walking, keeping your hands stable and many other such movements are difficult to carry out.
Maddie has had various problems in life because of her disability. She has speech problems where her speech would come out all jumbled up, and it takes her time to understand and process all the information she gets in a class. She also trips over while walking because of the way her legs walk pretty close to each other. But she got used to living like that because according to her, that was her normal, everyday life. In Dyspraxia, fast coordination of motor movements is next to impossible. But you know what? Maddie is different. Because when it comes to music, she can play piano, guitar, and a saxophone all at the age of 17!
She says – “I don’t see any limitations whilst playing my instruments. It’s my sense of creativity and it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love.”
Her disability did not stop her from doing what she absolutely loves. Because disability should not have to be a limiting factor in a person’s life. A person is not their wheelchair, or slurred accent, or blurred vision. A person is their passion, their dream, their will power. No one has control over their problems but everyone can choose to focus on the better things in their life.
Family and School
Her family has been very supportive of her needs, especially her mom. She had been to 4 counselors before finding out her exact condition. Since then, they have bought a lot of books to educate themselves on Dyspraxia and have created a healthy environment for her at home.
Maddie says that she never told a lot of people around her about her condition. This is because she did not want people to think that she’s making up an excuse. Some people around her thought that she is making it up, or that she is just either very dumb or lazy. Even in her school, some of her teachers ignored her needs and only focused on the bright students in the class. But Maddie never focused on them and continued on with her life and studies and today she has the knowledge of such diverse instruments.
But, the question here is, why should a person have to hide their condition? Why don’t people just accept and adapt to another person’s needs?
People, especially teachers, need awareness and proper knowledge of the differently-abled community so that the differently-abled people can feel comfortable in a public setting.
So what if a person has physical or mental challenges?
We ask you – So what? Don’t we all have some or the other major problems in our lives? So what if theirs are more visible, and ours hide behind our calculated talks and precautionary actions?
Food for thought
Why should people with challenges have to feel secluded?
Their stories are proof that they have learned something that each one of us needs to learn. That their problems can’t define who they become in their lives. This world is as much their home as much as it belongs to the rest of 6 billion of us.
What do we mean when we say ‘the other people’, ‘the other group’? There’s no we and them; there’s only ‘us’ of which the disabled people are an equal part. Inclusion is not a foreign concept if we really look at it. It just means sharing an unbiased hearty meal, or giving a warm bear hug, or giving a smile, or just looking at a person with a disability and not thinking anything different at all.
Maddie believes that every person has the right to be independent and take their own decisions instead of accepting other people’s decisions for them.
She continues to tell us from a young person’s perspective and experience, how should the differently-abled community be treated. She says –
Be patient and listen to what we have to say. Educate yourselves so you don’t offend us and know how to go about things to make things easier for both sides.
So we ask you again –
Did you know that there are 1 billion people in the world that have some or the other kind of disability and 6 billion others who have no rights to judge them?
Yes. Now you do. And the day we all accept this, that’s when we will be a family, 7 billion strong.