Friday, February 15, 2008

Respect and Disability Advocacy

Yesterday being Valentines Day and being up to the letter R it seems like a romantic post would be in order, fortunately for all of us Dave Hingsburger and Jennifer Graf Groneberg have posted those. I have to talk about respect!

A few years back my oldest daughter came home from school and told me that there would be a new kid in their class starting tomorrow. She said that she knew that he had trouble with listening and with his behavior and needed extra help to learn.

I stared at her open-mouthed for a while.

“What’s his name?” I asked.

“What’s he good at?” I asked.

She didn’t know.

Someone, probably in hopes of creating understanding for this kid, had introduced him to his classmates worst foot forward.

This didn’t gain him a lot of friends. Go figure.

What would have?

A little respect!

Disrespect toward people with disabilities is rampant. People with disabilities are abused, injured, shunned and disregarded in big and small ways with sickening regularity.

It is a complex situation with many contributing factors:
• All people fare better in situations where everyone feels a balance of security and accountability for their behavior.
• All people fare better when common ground is recognized (we like the same band) or built (we were in the same class.)
• People fare better when there is a strong, positive example of good treatment for all.
• People fare better when everyone is expected to contribute, facilitated to contribute and recognized for contributing.
• Any other ideas?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T…that’s what it means to me!

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