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Having a Friend With a Disability Is Not Newsworthy


I am a disabled adult and I am bothered by the news stories that highlight when a typical child does something for someone with a disability. This should not be something spotlighted or celebrated in the media because it is something any good person should do. The fact that this happens so frequently and how happy it makes people makes me sad because it should be done automatically. We should all treat one another with respect.

When I went to junior prom, I was excited to share the experience with an upperclassman, but I wasn’t surrounded by cameras. It wasn’t a nice gesture because I was disabled. It was just an upperclassman and friend escorting me to my prom and that was enough for me. It was a night I will remember forever, but it wasn’t newsworthy.

I founded and run a group in my community. It is co-led by two of my “typical” friends from high school and they volunteer with me to help change our community — that’s it, plain and simple. It’s not because they are doing something monumental to help their friend with cerebral palsy.

We need to stop making these stories such a big deal when in reality they are not. I understand we need feel-good stories right now in our world, but stories like these aren’t news. They are just kids who were taught right by their parents and know how to treat people with respect.

Ask yourself this: if it were two able-bodied kids helping each other, would it be getting tons of news coverage? I don’t believe so. As a society we need to raise our standards of what we deem news and not turn friendships into an act of heroism.