Thursday, April 12, 2018

Dear child with a disability

Inspired by a good friend's heartbreaking post about their child.

Dear child with a disability: 

Hi. My name is Kitt. I have a disability.

What is 'disability?' That's just a word that means that the world we live in is made in a way that might be tough for you, even if it seems easy for others. You might find yourself working harder to do certain things than the people you see around you.

Dear kid, I know you are trying your best. That's so important. That's a really big deal. I'm very proud of you. 

You know, friend, lots of things take practice. It's okay to need time to get the hang of it. In fact, you don't even have to be good at everything! We all have things that we find easy or have a gift for (have you ever met someone who was such a creative storyteller? Someone whose smile made you feel all warm and fuzzy? Someone who was a good listener? Someone who just gave the best hugs? What's your gift? It's okay if you don't know yet.)... We also all have things we find extra hard (maybe numbers are a tough one for you, or spelling, or walking).

I actually have a few disabilities, myself. 

•I have a disability that makes me feel lots of things really big, and it makes it hard for me to express my feelings in healthy ways.
•I have a disability that causes me to have a hard time with numbers and math.

 have a disability that makes it hard for me to pay attention to things.
•I have a disability that makes it hard for me to put my thoughts into words in ways that other people will understand.
•I have a disability that makes my whole body hurt, and makes me very tired, and sometimes it's hard for me to walk or stand. Sometimes I move really slowly.
•I have disabilities that make it hard for me to remember important things that I'm supposed to do.
•I have a disability that makes my body do lots of different movements when I don't want it to.
•I have disabilities where sometimes my brain thinks thoughts that aren't invited and aren't welcome.
•I have a disability that makes the world seem really big and loud and overwhelming, so sometimes everything seems like just too much, or it all gets mixed up and just very confusing. I think so fast that sometimes I overwhelm my own brain, but I can be very slow to understand things.
•Because of one of my disabilities, I sometimes can't talk.
•Some of them make it too easy for me to worry a lot,  and I feel panic sometimes and need to calm myself down.

But all of these disabilities help me have special gifts, too. I have a very big heart. I'm good at telling stories. I make nice sculptures, and I draw cool pictures, and I notice things other people don't notice and remember things other people don't remember. I can see so much beauty in the world around me that it fills my heart until it overflows. I think in unique ways that others don't. It's very easy for me to learn new languages. I have all these special gifts because of my disabilities. 

I want you to know that it's totally okay to have a disability, it's totally okay to be different (we all are!), it's totally okay to need help with things, it's totally okay to find some things hard. It's okay to need breaks. It's okay to take time to get the hang of it.

Having a disability doesn't mean anything bad about you! It doesn't mean you are missing anything, or aren't enough. You are enough! You are exactly who you are supposed to be.

It just means you might need different support (that means help) than some other kids. That's okay! You might do some things a different way than others do. That's totally okay! In fact, it's awesome! How cool is it that we are all so diverse? (diverse means that we all have different things that make us great and special)! I think it's pretty cool.

You might hear people saying things about you or your disability, or someone else and their disability, and those things might sound really hurtful. Those people don't understand how great and special you are. Some people don't know how to be patient, or know how to let people just be themselves. That is not your fault. You are not the reason other people are mean. They are just that way for their own reasons. No matter what they say, you can just keep being cool and shining bright. You don't have to change who you are. You are your awesome self, and that is that.

So keep on doing your thing, doing your best, taking breaks when you need to and being kind to yourself (this can be tough for some people too, but now is a great time to start practicing). You and I, one day, we're gonna show the world just how awesome people like us are.

You got this, kid. Keep shining.

Much love,