Growing up with a disability is a tough ride. As many of you know, I was born with Cerebral Palsy.
My parents fought hard to have me be in the classroom with other children of my age, and fought even harder to make sure I received that help I needed to be on an equal playing field. It's a common assumption that if you receive extra help, you aren't as smart or capable as those around you. What many folks don't realize is that we don't all start from the same place. I require extra time on tests, for example. I need more time to go from A to B, and I fatigue faster than others during a test. My concentration level fades faster sometimes so it takes me longer to get through it.
We are raised to believe that there is one way to be, one way to learn. Many PWDs don't fit in well in many ways because the world hardly makes room for us. And when we learn how to exist among everyone else, it is seen as some great miracle instead of the truth: We do what we have to to make it work.
So when I learn how to grocery shop by myself in a cramped store, I am not a miracle.
When I walk home alone at night in heavy snow I am not a "brave girl".
When I'm shopping alone and I can tell what fits just by sight, I'm not some crafty person.
It makes people uncomfortable to think that they could be one of us. You aren't born for a life with a disability, you force yourself to adapt
The real struggle is being reminded constantly that everyone's expectations of us is so low.