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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Monday, November 27, 2006

THE SPECIAL CHILD

It’s really fascinating how people have come to love calling disabled people, people with special needs… I mean where can you find such love and compassion… or such a courage to move on in life… it’s really very ‘special’ being disabled, having an impairment… and is of course always an excuse to celebrate!!! Or is it?

I am uncomfortable when people call people with impairments ‘special’ with great zeal and enthusiasm. Perhaps the novelty wore off when I realized what people really meant when they called me a a ‘special kid’ or indirectly implied it. If people regarded people with impairments as ‘special’ you would expect them to be in the forefront of public life and society isn’t it true? And you wouldn’t hear the laments of parents who have been given such a ‘terrible’ news that their child will have impairments would you?

I mean if being special was such a great thing, why would people shun it and render the life of these ‘special people’ like myself so difficult? The answer may be simpler than you might think. When people label me ‘special’ they are not doing me any favours.

In fact, ‘special’ to all sorts of people brings really bad memories. A term which can be associated with segregation, separation and even elimination. The worse thing of all is that bringing together people who are different human beings under one single label, however nice it may sound, is actually a tag that emphasizes my difference in such a way as to make it unreal and foreign.

Would you like to be introdyuced as ‘special’ during a social event? Would you like your friends to regard you as ‘special’? And would you liked to be referred to by politicians as ‘special cases’? I don’t think so and neither do I!

I use my wheelchair to get around … does that make my moving around any special?

And like some people use spectacltes to see better, other people may use screen readers to read text or communicate through the use of sign language. Unless you’re not high on some drug, as far as I’m concerned there’s really nothing special about trying to go on about life. But perhaps, there is something special about our life, but not because we have impairments but because we’re alive today and that we’re able to read this.

And it’s really because we’re living today that I can make such statements. Up to a few years ago, the assumption would have been that not only my life was plain useless but that it was also a burden on others. This negative legacy still exists today as I soon discovered when I was growing up. Being labelled a child with ‘special needs’ by others has never really happened to me within my school. But outside of my childhood circle, and also in my adulthoood, the term ‘special’ still evokes very bad memories. I think I owe it to the growing generation of both disabled and non-disabled children living today to destroy the myth of the ‘special chuild’.

For wahat’s the use of flattery and fancy labels such as ‘special’ other than further distancing me from you? And if you made it to this point you probably liked it enough to keep reading. And I don’t have ESP (otherwise I’d be somewhere else, example: Las Vegas) but it’s just common sense…

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