When many people think about disabilities they think of the challenges that a person with a disability faces. Disclosing my disability evokes a variety of responses from people. Some people are surprised because my disability is hidden or compare it to someone else. The most discouraging remark is when people tell me that they are sorry that I have one. The person who is apologizing didn’t cause my disability and pity does little to help me. Learning to accept my disability has been a long process that didn’t begin with me loving it. I once thought if my disability didn’t exist then my life would be amazing. My disability didn’t go away, but I slowly began to love the lessons it taught me.
One of the biggest things I love about having a disability is empathy. I know what it feels like to be frustrated with learning while it came so easier to others. I remember the feeling of failure and disappointment when I would study for a test and fail. I try to put myself in the place of a struggling student that I help, or when connecting with another person with a disability. I know what it’s like to have one and how I want to be treated.
Another thing that I love about my disability is that it has given me a unique way to view the world. I can remember not wanting this and wanted to be able to do all things neurotypical people could do with ease. Having a brain that is different from others has given me the chance to be a creative problem solver. I often don’t learn in a typical fashion. I have to look for new ways to do things, that many people wouldn’t have thought about. Many people also remark that they wouldn’t have thought of certain tasks to be an issue.
Patience has also been one of the other things that I have slowly learned to love with life with a disability. When I am learning a new task or revisiting something that I previously learned but forget, I need to use patience. I can do the job that I am asked, but it may take longer or may have to work to find another way. I have to ask myself what I already know and what I need to know to get the job done. I also have to think of questions that I need to ask to learn how to complete a task. I know when I am struggling but can’t think of questions to ask that I am really on lost on how to do something. Many people have lost patience with me because I couldn’t pick up on a task quick enough or had to relearn something.
Faith has been another thing that I have learned to love with having a disability. I know that when I face a challenge, that I have learned to accomplish difficult things in the past and I can do it again. I can remember one of my teachers being concerned about me developing learned helplessness. She wrote on my report that I was often suprised when I could complete a task correctly. She also said that they had to encouarge me to do more for myself.
Having faith in God has shown me that my Learning Disability can work for good. For so many years I wondered what good could come out of having one. He has blessed me with so much more than I could imagine. I am able to use my story to help others.
Life with a disability hasn’t turned out the way that I imagined it. Thankfully things have turned out so much better than I could have ever dreamed of. I may not love everything that has happened to me or every aspect of having a disability. I love how it has strengthen me and the person that it has turned me into. Not having one would make certain aspects of my life easier, but not necessarily better. I can truly say that loving your life with a disability is very possible.