My Dad: What Does Disability Mean To Me? Today we have a special person who answered the question about what does disability mean to them. The person is my dad. Before I read what he wrote, I will tell you a little bit about him so you can understand what he means in his explanation.
My dad was born in 1929 so he is 88 years old. He was born before the TV was invented. My dad grew up in Chicago with ten brothers and sisters. He drove a truck over 40 years so he met a lot of people who could have said something about disability.
My dad wrote the following:
“Since I was 14 years old, disability meant that a person had a physical or a mental problem. When I was young, I never knew a person with a disability. I broke my collarbone playing football, and I thought I was disabled. Yes, I didn’t know much about disabilities. The first time I heard about Cerebral Palsy was when Chris was six months old and we saw the doctor because Chris could not hold his head up. The doctor said that he had Cerebral Palsy. I asked him was there a different doctor who we could see.”
The Ride Home
“On the way home from the doctor, my wife was crying and I said don’t cry. Everything would be alright. She asked me if I knew what CP was and I said no. We saw another doctor and that started my education about disabilities.”
“My oldest brother didn’t know much about disabilities either. When we saw each other at family gatherings, he always would ask me if Chris would get stronger, and I had to tell him no. He didn’t quite understand why the doctors could not give Chris some medicine to make him stronger.
About 50 years ago, I don’t think people knew much about CP or disabilities at all. Back in those days, people didn’t talk about it. Maybe they just talked to their families. I really don’t know.
I am glad that there are people who talk about disabilities like Chris and other people who are trying to find cures for these disabilities. In my own family, I don’t remember we talked about disabilities. Since I was a truck driver, I talked to many people and they didn’t say anything about disabilities either.”
Wow, that was a powerful testimony from my dad. Looking back like how he did, we came a long way. Like he said that people didn’t talk about disabilities very much. Today we talk about it like it is everyday conversation.
In the past, babies died at birth because a lot of women delivered their babies at home. If the baby was not breathing, they didn’t have the skills to make the baby start breathing.
Today babies are surviving if they are being born early. Medicine is really doing magic on all kinds of people. I think what my dad talked about really gave us a great view on how life is evolving before our eyes. Yet, we have a long way to go to bring awareness of disabilities to everyone. If each of us can do our part, we can make a difference for people with disabilities. I really believe that and hopefully, you do too. Let’s start working together in educating society.