By: Juli Newman
Q. Tell us what is the type of disability that impacts your life, or the life of a loved one?
A. My daughter had a stroke sometime around her birth.
Q. Tell us if you could change one thing that all public spaces had to change to make life easier what would it be and why?
A. I think our biggest struggle has been being able to find resources to help us help her. We don’t always know where to go because her disability is so mild in comparison to many others. She tends to fall through the cracks of the system. It would be nice for people to recognize and help these kids before they get so far behind. Especially in the school settings.
Q. What is one thing you want people to understand about living with a disability, or being a caregiver for someone with a disability.
A. Just because someone doesn’t have a severe disability, doesn’t mean they don’t have a disability. It’s hard when I have this child who appears perfectly “normal” to an outside observer, but she has difficulties that arise from having her stroke. When people see her wearing headphones in noisy settings or throwing a tantrum due to sensory overload, they think “I am babying her or I don’t discipline her.” Disabilities come in all different shapes and sizes, just like people. It’s not our place to judge how we think someone else should be parenting-especially when we don’t know their circumstances.
Q. Tell us what can society do today to stop discrimination against those with a disability?
A. I think stop staring! Don’t judge and assume, just ask. Most people are more than willing to explain “what happened” or why they are different. But pretending they aren’t there or ignoring them because they wear a brace or use a wheelchair or can’t stand up completely straight, doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings.