published in the Republican

I can remember always feeling overshadowed by my disabilities. For a short while, all I felt was the weight of being labeled disabled. It left me feeling isolated and very different from everyone else. Everyone has their strong and weak points even though it is important to improve our weak areas.
Fostering strengths can have many positive impacts in one’s life. For example, a positive self-image will help pave the way to growth in many ways. Another point is the importance of including the disabled child in determining what accommodations are needed to meet their needs. It may sound like a simple concept, but sadly I have run into people during my life who felt because of my disabilities I could not speak for myself. Everywhere in society, people with disabilities of all ages deal with stigmas that reflect negatives of having a disability instead of focusing on the person and their strengths. All people deserve to be treated with respect and to be independent.
There are many different things that define us and help create our identities. Our roles vary from our professional to our personal lives. In the past, people with disabilities have only been identified and classified as being disabled, and were often judged by their weaknesses and limitations, leading to misconceptions. Just like everyone else, people with disabilities have interests, talents and strengths. Their disability is only part of their life and should not consume their lives.
In recent years, there has been a shift in perception in seeing the person first and their disability second. The main purpose of viewing the person first is to focus on strengths to help them create who they are, which will lead to higher self-esteem, self worth and a positive self-image. The key is to use the positive energy to make accommodations for any limitations. When we view a disability as a challenge to overcome, this will defeat any frustrations or negative energy.
We all have unique gifts to be shared and valued. I am proud of the roles that create my own identity, ranging from wife, yogini, columnist and activist. My disabilities are a positive influence enabling me to be compassionate, strong, and fearless.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, February 28th, 2021 at 6:45 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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