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When your child is disabled parents are forced to talk about disability because it affects your child and it will be brought up at one time or another. If your children are abled you don’t necessarily ever have to talk about disability but I think all parents should regardless of if their child has a disabilty or not because when you don’t expose your kids to disability-related issues you are becoming part of the problem. Abled kids need to be exposed to disability even more so than disabled people because you have to make your kids comfortable around disabled people or you will turn them into ableist adults that think they are superior to disabled people. The lessons you teach your abled children about disability are not going to be the as if your child was actually disabled because you wouldn’t need to them how to accept their disability if it doesn’t affect them. Children are a blessing but even if I started dating tomorrow I would never consider kids because my disability already makes life hard and I can’t imagine raising another human on top of all of that but if I did happen to have children here are some lessons I’d teach my disabled and abled kids.
It’s okay to be different- Disabled people move and think differently and there is nothing wrong with having to do things in a different way but the real problem isn’t someone’s disability and it’s that its’ often seen as something negative that needs to be cured. It is hard to live with a disability in a world that is designed for abled people and it’s important that kids understand life isn’t easy with constant challenges but parents also need to be teaching their kids to accept a disability instead of trying to change it. Some parents teach their kids that it’s okay to be different and I look up to these types of parents but not enough people are teaching their kids that different bad which makes disabled people face more discrimination than necessary. You could use the argument that abled people are also different so why is it only bad when you are disabled and struggle a little bit more?
My disability is not the problem– Disabled people are always being told that our disabilities are the problem and if we were cured that the world would be a better place but that is so far from true. I cannot change my disability because I was born with it but my disability itself is not the problem and it’s the lack of accessibility that makes things harder than they have to be. I have also been disabled but I don’t wake up every day thinking about my disability and most days I don’t think about it at all because it’s everything I have ever known and it’s normal to me. The only time I feel disabled is when I cannot participate in activities due to it’s poor accessibility and we need to be teaching are kids that disabled people don’t need to change their disabilities but we need to improve the accessibility and be more inclusive so disabled people don’t always feel left out.
What is ableism?- I was raised by abled people and was taught a lot about disability acceptance because I had to be and you could say that I was taught ableism, but I didn’t know the correct word for it until I started my blog. What is ableism? Ableism is defined as a form of discrimination and social prejudice against disabled people that is based on the belief that abled-bodied abilities are superior. The best way to describe ableism is it’s when people believe that our disabilities are the problem and need to be fixed. Disabled and abled people can both be ableist and disabled people aren’t completely exempt from it because you can be considered ableist by how you act or talk toward disabled people, but typically abled-bodied people are more ableist because they don’t know what it is. I was taught that my disability was something I live with, but I was not taught very much about ableism, and I am assuming that is because I was raised by abled-bodied people that probably have heard of that word but likely does not have a clear understanding of what it is and would not be able to clearly explain it. Ableism affects disabled people, and we should be teaching our kids about ableism so at the very least they can recognize when they are being ableist and stop themselves.
Staring makes disabled people uncomfortable– Parents sometimes will tell their kids to stare at someone who looks different and that it’s rude. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that staring is rude but instead, I would tell my children it makes disabled people uncomfortable because when you tell kids to stop staring it doesn’t send a positive message. Teach your kids to go up and say hello to a wheelchair user instead of pointing at them because kids will be curious and the only way kids will know not to do that is if you teach them. Parents sometimes will shut down all conversations that have anything to do with a disability but you should not shut these conversations dow because that is your opportunity to educate and I am willing to bet you that disabled people are not going to think anything of it if they see a five-year-old pointing at them.
A stoma changes and saves lives- There is a lot of stigma associated with having a stoma and people always seem to think that if we changed our doctor or got rid of it that we’d cure ourselves but it doesn’t work that way. Stoma’s change and save lives and we shouldn’t be making people feel ashamed for getting them because for a lot of disabled people it’s medically necessary. If there was a way that I could go to the bathroom without a stoma I would much rather prefer that but the truth is it’s the easiest way for me to have independence in my bladder and bowel management. I would never force my kid to get stoma unless it was a matter of life or death because it’s a big adjustment but I would encourage it because stoma’s can give you independence and make you feel better if your not well. If you disabled child would benefit from a stoma you should talk about it with them but it’s also something you can talk about with your abled children because abled people are going to be the ones who shame it because they don’t understand why it’s necessary.
Accessibility is necessary- People are always saying that accessibility is too expensive and that disabled people are more being too negative for continuously advocating for more accessibility but it’s not negative to want things to be easier and it’s ablelist to tell disabled people they are being negative for wanting their lives to be easier. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with wanting more accessibility because it’s necessary for disabled people to live their lives and we need to be teaching our kids that it’s important for businesses to be accessible and whatever your excuse it’s not acceptable to ignore disabled customers. Teach your kids to call out poor accessibility because businesses need to know that it’s not okay to have stairs but no ramp and that it can be dangerous for disabled people when you have unnecessary barriers.
If you are a parent of disabled child, you will always have to talk about disability with your child because affects them personally, but you should not exempt your abled kids from talking about disabled-related issues. Abled people are always discriminating against disabled people because they don’t understand, and I think you need to be talking about disability with your abled children just as much if not more so. Some people would argue that you don’t need to care about the disabled community until it affects you, but everyone should care because eighty percent of all disabilities were not birth defects and happened through accident, age or illness. Teach your kids about disability regardless of if it affects them because part of the problem is a vast majority of people do not teach disability etiquette which makes disabled people face more ableism. There are so many lessons you could teach your kids about disability, and I most certainly have not listed them all and the bottom is to teach our kids to accept a disability instead of trying to fix it and to not judge something you cannot see or have never experienced. What disability lessons would you teach your kids?
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