I was truly moved while reading a blog written by Daniel Anderson for Cerebral Palsy month. Whether one experiences cerebral palsy, autism, or another developmental disability, the core of his message is true for all: we all want to love, be loved, experience acceptance, and be seen for more than our disability. Even small changes in our language have made a big difference. We now put the person first – a child with autism – as opposed to “an autistic child.” But we can still work harder to move beyond the stereotypical picture of a healthy, happy person.
Disabilities aside, we all have personal challenges, whether it’s our physique, our intelligence, or any other worries. If we only would acknowledge that each of us have insecurities of our own, we could move toward a culture of acceptance. Of course, this may sound simplistic, but a culture of acceptance begins with accepting yourself.
One of my fundamental beliefs is to treat others as I would like to be treated. Putting aside judgement and instead emphasizing acceptance allows you to be positive, in turn opening the door for happiness and love.
Author Daniel says it best: “To anyone with disabilities, remember that the only limitations are the ones you set on yourself. People like us are the ones strong enough to live with the challenges we face. Smiles go for miles so keep on smiling and just keep going.”