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How I Wish I'd Responded to the Person Making Fun of People With Disabilities

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I had an experience last night that made me feel embarrassed for humanity, and embarrassed for not speaking up. I found myself in a situation in which people with disabilities were being made fun of. I was in no way amused. I was hurt and embarrassed to be among people who found this funny. But did I speak up? No. I was wrong for that. I very much regret not saying something, anything.

Thinking back on it now, I likely would have shown them a picture of my daughter. I would have told them she’s met every milestone she’s expected to meet. That she’s just as capable as anyone else in this world. That if people didn’t automatically assume she was incapable, they would be amazed to see that she absolutely is. To give every person they encounter in life a chance.

It is not OK to discriminate against people based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc., so why do some people think it’s OK to discriminate based on someone’s developmental state? My daughter may not be where the majority of “typical” 3-year-olds are right now in her life, but I can guarantee you she will be one day. She’s a fighter, and she will never stop until she’s accomplished any goal she’s set for herself.

The next time you see someone with a disability, please don’t write them off. Please don’t assume they’re incapable or somehow inferior to you. Please be one of those select few in this world who, rather than looking past a person or assuming the worst, instead assumes nothing. Give people a chance to show you who they really are and what they are truly capable of.

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Originally published: October 24, 2016
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