Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ripple Effect

I was in this great coffee shop today in a small historic town.  My husband and I ordered our drinks and then sought a table.  We passed a gentleman who uses a wheelchair and had a Dynavox attached with a mount.  My husband and I were thrilled to see him out in the community for we are both aware of how many individuals with physical disabilities become home bodies after high school for a variety of reasons.

My husband and I enjoyed our drinks and talked for a bit.  Then the true magic occurred.

The gentleman I spoke of backed up to the service counter and started talking to one of the employees, (without his Dynavox), and the employee talked back to him as a peer.  I wish I could express in words the magnitude of this conversation.  Ask an individual  who has a significant physical impairment or loves someone whose physical impairment is such to require a wheelchair and talker and they will tell you, this is not something experienced every day.  For some, it is only experienced within their own family, and for some, not even their whole family.

So often, individuals who are physically impacted, as is this gentleman, are spoken to as though they are eternally 2 years old.  The tone, voice pitch, and word choice, while meant to include the individual, are often degrading and insulting.  These are your peers, not your children.

In this coffee shop, they know that and for that, I'm eternally grateful. Maybe they are the pebble that dropped and the rings of knowledge will spread.

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