I was thinking about this Disability Awareness Month. Are the disabilities alike or are they totally different? If they are different, then why do we have a Disability Awareness Month? Let’s take Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Autism, and spinal cord injury.
CP and MD
What does the dictionary say about these disabilities? Let’s start off with Cerebral Palsy since we know it really well. It is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination and/or other disabilities typically caused by damage to the brain before or at birth. Muscular Dystrophy is a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening and wasting of the muscles.
Before we go further, we can see some similarities between CP and MD. They both affect the muscles some way. So people with these two conditions might need help doing things. With Muscular Dystrophy, the child will get weaker as they grow older. With Cerebral Palsy, the child might learn how to do things as they grow up. This is not always true. A lot of individuals with CP might need help throughout their lives.
Autism and Spinal Cord Injury
Let’s move onto Autism. It is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterized by difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concept. With Autism, a person might require help to do daily activities just like a person with CP or MD. I am not saying it is always the case.
The final one is spinal cord injury. It is trauma or damage to the spinal cord. This happens in an accident. The injury causes a wide range of results. It might cause death or it might cause parts of the body to stop functioning. The person might require 24 hours care or might not need help at all. It all depends on where the spinal cord was cut.
Disabilities are Similar
The four disabilities that I went over are different in many ways but also similar. The main similarity between these disabilities is that the person most likely will need help from others. So disabilities are similar after all. Therefore, we all should be working together in educating society.
Speak Up and Speak Out
Last October, I went to a conference in Springfield, Illinois called Speak Up and Speak Out. It was for people with a learning disability. One thing that struck me was how they were asking questions about their right to good housing and how their care was being affected. The average individuals in society think people with learning disabilities don’t know their rights. Yes, they do. I felt humbled by being there and listening to their concerns. Some of their concerns were my concerns as well.
My question at the beginning of this post was: are the disabilities alike or are they totally different? The answer to this is quite easy. They are alike! We just have to work together to make our lives better. That is why the Disability Awareness Month is so important. It is to make this country and the entire world a little bit better for people with disabilities.