I’ve been pondering what to write about tonight. I was about to give up when I found my way into a conversation with my friend Ski (AKA Karen). She has wanted to volunteer for Special Olympics but because of her hearing loss she has been afraid it would be awkward to communicate with the athletes.
I told Ski she would likely find the athletes willing to find a way to communicate with her.
Her response…”Life is funny. I’d be going to a place with lots of people with special needs – and worrying about them – accepting me. Kind of lets you understand how they feel every day of their lives.”
She is so right.
Even though people with developmental disabilities tend to be discriminated against they don’t typically discriminate against people for their outward appearances. Sonya is a fine example of this. I have never witnessed her judging people for the physical appearance…she judges them on their kindness. If a person is nice, Sonya likes them. She does not judge them by their size, color, hair, clothes, or their gender (even if it is different than their birth certificate!)
I have learned so much about acceptance from people with developmental disabilities.
Many years ago I watched a white lady with Down Syndrome sit on the floor with a 4 year old african american boy…they had a conversation none of us could understand…they had a connection only the two of them understood….we, the “adults” stood around and wished more people could be like the two of them. A true unconditional connection of friendship.
Over the years I have had the privilege to know many people with developmental disabilities. Just like those without developmental disabilities none of them are perfect….but the true difference is, they don’t judge the imperfections they simply love the person.
I am grateful for the many people with disabilities I have gotten to know over the years and I am certainly grateful for the lessons of acceptance they have taught me.