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I’d like to share this post written by Deborah for our sister site 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
I think it’s a helpful reminder how powerful our words are.
Why do most people say “awww, poor thing” when I tell them of Ashley’s significant disabilities? I admit that when I list all her issues, it might seem like she has a daunting job just existing each day. But I honestly don’t believe, and I think Ashley would agree with this assessment, that her life is anything requiring pity. She has learned to adapt her world to accommodate her disabilities, and she is doing a fine job, thank you very much, of living life her way.
Ashley likes people who challenge her. The one word that absolutely does not describe Ashley is compliant. Does that mean that being her mother, her aide, her siblings, or her friends is a difficult job sometimes? Yes, indeed. Does it mean any of us would have her any other way? Definitely not. Ashley’s strong will, her stubbornness and her refusal to comply without questioning is what has helped her reach the heights she has already reached in her somewhat difficult life. And she’s not through yet.
Ashley is a person who is going to challenge life head on. She was a hard to handle toddler, an energetic and enthusiastic elementary age child, and she is now a tough to deal with teenager. But she is also beautiful and exciting and a hoot to be around. She keeps her teachers and her caregivers on their toes constantly, but life around her is never dull. At the end of each day, we are all exhausted from living in Ashley’s world, but we all go to sleep with smiles on our faces.
So, when someone says “awww, poor thing” to describe Ashley, I just want to say “Poor thing, my a**. Why don’t you stay with Ashley for a couple of hours while I go get a pedicure, and then see if you want to say ‘Awww, poor thing’?”
Deborah can be found writing here at 5MFSN every Wednesday, and can also be found at Pipecleaner Dreams.
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