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Children with disabilities: Those abilities that make them unique

DISPONIBLE EN ESPAÑOL AQUݍ

I know children´s developmental charts very well, but that doesn´t stop me from celebrating my children´s individual developments. I feel proud of their accomplishments, and I share them everywhere, trying to motivate and inspire other parents that may not understand yet that living with disabilities is as simple as having different abilities.

Other parents sometimes look at me thinking that I’m nuts.

How can I, as well as others parents of children with disabilities, celebrate obvious and typical signs that show that our children have special needs? How can I be happy that my children are not performing at pace with other kids? Shouldn’t I be ashamed?

 

Well, I can only be grateful to my kids. They have taught me to be patient and to enjoy them for who they are. We don’t need  to compare ourselves to anyone else to measure how well we are doing. I gave up on making others happy or comfortable. There are three people in this world whom I need to make happy: my two children and myself. Judges come and go, so why should we feel affected by them?

 

Why do we always need a test of abilities in order to accept others? Why do we use a genetic test to label someone as a “genetic mistake,” or a chromosome count to measure somebody else’s tendency to love? I’ve learned that none of these things measure the true content of a person’s character, no matter what his or her abilities are.

Adopting this attitude is not in any way avoiding reality; we are just showing the world that everyone is different, and that we won’t be forced to follow “rules” of what we’re supposed to be able to do at a certain age. We are proud of being who we are and of doing our best every day!

A child with special needs brings new meanings to life. In certain ways, the situation forces you to slow down, and in the meantime, you learn to observe and admire your surroundings. You begin to understand that no matter how fast you move, things seem to work at their own pace. It takes time to learn this lesson. That’s why, in the process of maturing and accepting this simple concept, you may find yourself frustrated or overwhelmed from trying to fit as many therapies as possible into your child’s schedule.

Understanding that your child is always going to have a disability doesn’t mean you give up. But it means you love your child because of his or her abilities and limitations — not in spite of them.

Isn’t that real love?

Isn’t that the way your child loves you? 

There are many things that I will never be able to do, because I don’t have the talent or ability for them, but I also know there are things that my children are already doing that I never did, even without having a disability, for example, I never learned how to skate, but look who skates like a professional at  8 years old! and also does plenty of things that I have been scared to try my entire life!


  • Ayelen dreams to be a ballerina. 1 of 11
    Ayelen dreams to be a ballerina.
    She started dancing when she was 4-years-old.
  • Emir is a great swimmer. 2 of 11
    Emir is a great swimmer.
    He loves to swim and has been receiving swimming classes for a couple of months.
  • They love to do stuff together. 3 of 11
    They love to do stuff together.
    Emir is the leader when it comes to facing physical challenges.
  • Emir loves adventures. 4 of 11
    Emir loves adventures.
    Last year he took BOGA YOGA classes. He's passionate about paddle boards.
  • Emir learned to walk when he was around 20 months. 5 of 11
    Emir learned to walk when he was around 20 months.
    But he started riding his tricycle since he was only 12 months.
  • Her life is all about being a princess. 6 of 11
    Her life is all about being a princess.
    She has taught me that a princess is always a princess, no matter if she has to ride a tricycle.
  • Every time he flies at the swings, he makes me feel free. 7 of 11
    Every time he flies at the swings, he makes me feel free.
  • I would love to have the strength and determination he has. 8 of 11
    I would love to have the strength and determination he has.
    There's nothing impossible for him.
  • I never learned how to skate. 9 of 11
    I never learned how to skate.
    He did it in less than three months.
  • His yellow surfboard is his best friend when it comes to going to the beach. 10 of 11
    His yellow surfboard is his best friend when it comes to going to the beach.
  • These are some of the abilities that make us unique. 11 of 11
    These are some of the abilities that make us unique.
    We are not disabled, just differently abled!
.

My children have the ability to pull me out from my logical way of thinking. I love the fact that every photo I take of every simple thing they do makes me smile. These images are treasures that feed my heart and that when shared with the world teach great lessons about the power of different abilities and the uniqueness of each person.

Read more of Eliana Tardio writing about raising children with Down syndrome and everything in between at elianatardio.com (in Spanish)

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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