I may be biased but Joshua is a handsome teenager now and with his freckles, blue eyes and thick hair, he was always a good-looking child. It is helpful to be able to see Joshua as others see him as when he was younger, I was surprised that strangers recognised that he had a learning disability as, to me, he looked like his peers. But now I realise that there were tell-tale signs such as his bouncing, the odd noises he makes and flapping his hands/arms about when he is excited. ‘Normal’ children so not do these things. clearly now he is in his wheelchair, it is easier for strangers to judge him and young children are often fascinated by his wheels, staring uncontrollably. Fortunately Joshua is not aware of the stares that he attracts, but we his parents are.
I can recall a special needs swimming teacher once shocking me by saying:
” he is so handsome, what a shame…you can hardy tell can you?”
I was speechless at the time but subsequently made a complaint about her.
We are told not to judge a book by its cover, but most people do and they make assumptions about the boy in his wheelchair. but those who have the privilege of getting to know the real Joshua will appreciate his loving nature and his naughty sense of humour. Our son takes great pleasure from sticking his leg out to trip me up as I walk passed him! He really giggles when he manages to cause a stumble.
I would urge you all to get to know the children behind the wheelchair and the flapping hands, as you will be rewarded for your time and effort.