My children changed nurseries about 6 months ago and I was both surprised and pleased when I discovered that this nursery have some special needs children. They have one child who has a sensory need, one child with a speech and language delay, one child with complex needs who has a one to one support worker, one child who has downs syndrome who has a one to one support worker. I thinks it’s amazing that the two children who have specialist needs can not only get one on one care but also, have the opportunity to be in an environment where they are surrounded by other children with the noise, chaos and excitement that that brings. My children have not commented on any of this and I hope that this means that they do not really see anything different about these children.
To me its hugely important that my children grow up knowing that there are people with many different disabilities and abilities but it’s ok to be different. People stare because they don’t understand or have never been faced with something before. Let’s ensure children are educated at a very young age to help them understand.
I grew up with a Grandad with one leg. He wore a prosthetic leg outside but in his own home he would take his leg off. Of a morning he would hop down the stairs, make my beautiful nan tea and take it up the stairs on a tray, on his bottom. He was a strong man, someone to be looked up to, a man of action who would get the job done. He was head of the family. To me growing up, I didn’t see my Grandad as having a disability, in my mind it was very simple. Some people have brown eyes, some people have blue, some people have one leg and some have two. His prosthetic leg was covered in a tights like material and it always had a shoe to match the real foot, it was an amazing object of pure fascination to us grand children.
Looking back I’m incredibly proud of him. He managed to be just a normal Grandad, I adored spending time with him and my nan. He went to work, drove a car, did everything everyone else did and didn’t seem to require any help. I don’t recall him ever complaining about his disability but I was in my late teens when he died so I may well have selective memories.
Not only did he get on with normal life but he helped many disabled people and was awarded the Bader Flame Award for outstanding contribution to the amputee disabled community. I have no doubt that it was a very proud moment for his children to watch him receive this.
I’m not saying everyone should have a one legged Grandad (although I certainly wouldn’t have traded mine in for a two legged one), I’m just saying that by spending time with people with disabilities and growing up around them, you realise that we have a lot of the same dreams, desires and struggles in life. But its our differences that make us unique and special.