The Face of disAbility

He tries so hard to fit in.  Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t.  He can’t understand why the other children don’t want to play with him.  He only wants to play with them.  He doesn’t understand a lot of things.  He doesn’t understand why it’s a problem to carve with a stone into a piece of furniture.  He doesn’t understand why everyone has to make so much noise on the bus.  He doesn’t understand why no one believes him when he KNOWS he’s right…even when he really isn’t.  He can’t seem to figure out why he’s not as in charge as the grownups.  And he just doesn’t know why he can’t keep his emotions in control when the other kids are teasing him.  “I feel like sometimes I’m a bomb and I’m going to explode.”

This is what it is to have a disAbility.  This is what it is to have brain damage.  No one can see it.  And until you have had time with him, you might not know it.  There isn’t a sign to wear.  He has no visible evidence of the damaged brain within his head.  And it’s not his fault.  He wants to be like all the other kids.  He doesn’t want to over react to simple situations.  He doesn’t want to be the one on the outside.  And yet so many people, children and parents alike, make their own assumptions.  Worse yet, some of those parents pass that on to their children who then in turn treat him unkindly.  Because he doesn’t “wear” his disability like some other disabilities, he is often just labeled a problem.  Neighbors don’t want their children to play with him.  Teachers don’t know what to do with him, and we his parents spend countless nights praying over him, crying for him, exasperated, not knowing what to do.

With his blond hair tousled on his head, and a twinkle in his eye, he bounces off to get ready for bed.  As he climbs under the blankets of his bed and his eyes close,  so do the events of the day.  Each day begins as if the previous one never happened.  It’s not that he doesn’t remember the day, it’s just that it’s filed away now, and unless there is a need to remember a detail it isn’t ever thought of again.  It’s just that simple.  And why shouldn’t it be?

Each of us is made differently.  Wrapped up in this ugly wrapping paper called disability is a beautiful, engaging, smart, funny, very loving boy.  A boy who just wants a chance in life.

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