Seems like an odd thing to say, yet I’ve heard this (you’re lucky your disability is physical) time and time again.
At first, I was enraged. Why would someone consider my physical disability lucky? How insensitive!
However, my thoughts towards this previously perceived, insensitive comment has changed.
I’m a middle school special education teacher, and I have the privilege to serve students who have social learning differences. My students have a disability that is invisible. Their disability impacts aspects of their life, just as mine does, but their needs are not as obvious as mine.
For those of you who don’t know me, my arms appear different because of the lack of muscle. I walk, but often need to use a wheelchair to conserve energy and not focus on standing/walking without tripping or falling. When most people see me, they predict I might need the door opened or that I might take longer getting my money out to pay for my purchase.
My students appear neurotypical thus expected to engage in social and academic situations in a ‘normal’ way. When they don’t, people often don’t understand why he/she overreacted. Why can’t he/she just complete the writing assignment? Why is he/she constantly fidgeting? Why doesn’t he/she talk? Why is he/she covering their ears? The list goes on. What people don’t always see or know is that they may need the ‘door’ opened too.
You’ve heard it a thousand times, be kind for everyone is facing a battle you know nothing about. It’s true, think from multiple perspectives, love always.
Am I lucky? I’m not sure. Blessed? Absolutely!