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What’s Your Disability?

My son is different. He has Tourette Syndrome and Asperger Syndrome. I accept these labels because they identify a certain list of issues Haydn needs help with. They do not define him. They are simply a part of him. Just as I may label myself a reader or a person with ADHD. Both are very important aspects of who I am. If you know me at all, you are aware of how books shape me and how scatterbrained I can be.

As I was reading Shannon’s post at the Chosen Families blog, I began thinking about the word “disability.” What exactly does it mean? I know the connotation, but what about the denotation? Lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability; incapacity.

In that case, most of us have disabilities of one kind or another. If you have ever heard me sing, you know that I have a voice disability. I would be in big trouble if tomorrow Obama made it a requirement to sing well daily in order to live in America. I’d have to update my passport and flee the country or else apply for some sort of assistance. Free voice lessons for those of us who are completely tone deaf?

The point of this is . . . it is not an insult to my child when I say he has some disabilities. He does. So what. You and I have them too. It just so happens that his are in areas that impede his daily functioning. If telepathy were the norm, it would not matter that he struggles to write well or speak what he feels. The way things are going, his lack of social skills will not be a disability at all in our world. Everything is being done between screens. You don’t need to read facial expressions or tone of voice when exchanging email.

Hmm . . . could Asperger’s simply be part of human evolution? Will we “neuro-typicals” be the outsiders in another century or so?

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