Wonderful lie in this morning, until 7.30 which is a real treat and as it was 4 hours later than yesterday, it is most welcome! I need to store up some more sleep in readiness for New Year’s Eve if I am going to be able to party beyond midnight!
As I was driving about yesterday, I really enjoyed a really candid comedian on the radio, who was joking sharing humorous stories about his autistic son and he made me giggle. He was explaining that his son had cerebral palsy and autism and that he needed a wheelchair when out and about as he tires easily. He told a story about when he took his son out for the day and how the public like their disabled people to act and look in a certain way. He said that at the Pitch and Putt course, there was widespread relief when he got the wheelchair out of the car as ‘now he looked like a proper disabled person’ and I recognised this as being very true, Joshua is treated differently in his wheelchair and attracts possibly more sympathetic looks.
He was given free entance to the golf in his wheelchair and two men even allowed him to play beofre them, with their sympathetic heads on one side. With that, his son leapt out of his chair and with his one useful arm, he hit a hole in one and jumped about celebrating. The onlookers had been disappointed that he had been ‘cheating’ by being able to walk and then had been amazed at his talent on the golf course.
We too have had some very strange looks when Josahua has got out of his wheelchair to walk up aircraft steps or slide into a thetare seat or theme park ride too. The comedian is right, the public expect wheelchair users to be wheelchair bound, and otherwise, in some way they are frauds and ‘not preoperly disabled’. Are we really that narrow minded? Can there not be different levels and versions of disability? This shows to me that there is still so much public education required, not just amongst children but adults too. In fact the staring children are at least trying to process what they see in a peer but what excuse do the adults have?
I recall last week’s outing to the theme park and me questioning the young man who was manning the chilren’s train about their definition of ‘non ambulant’. He was so uncomfortable discussing disability and in trying to be politically correct, he squirmed ” Its for those who, you know, really cannot do anything at all!” was the best way that he could describe the disabled guests who were not allowed on the train ride. And the special needs swimming teacher who told me that ” Its such a shame, poor Josh, he looks so handsome as well” when trying to empathise with me about Joshua’s disability. Often in trying not to offend, people are so uncomfortable that they manage to do exactly that.
The comedian speculated whether disability is a funny, appropriate subject to be talling jokes about. But I was not offended at all by what he was sharing, as it was based upon evident love for his son and I myself find, that often to laugh at a difficult or embarrassing situation is actually the best way to cope. It can often be a real case of : laugh or else you will cry!