I wish it was all…
I was having a conversation with my son, Josh, today. It was fascinating!! Why? Because though Josh has limited verbal skills he has a high level of comprehension and communication. Most people don’t see it at first but if you spend one-on-one time with him his personality comes shining through!
During our conversation Joshua asked and though it would be neat if the world could be completely wheelchair accessible. Wow, I was blown away by this. He made it clear that it would just be easier if EVERYTHING was wheelchair accessible so he could go where he wants when he wants! I held back the tears and said, yeah Josh, that would be awesome and I wish we could make that happen too. He verbalized a loud yeah and smiled. The other thing that shocked me was the Joshua did not wish he could walk because he said that he has walked many times in his dreams and being in a wheelchair at times has its advantages.
The conversation then turned to labels. We discussed how he wished people did not give the word “special” or “special needs”. Though he likes the extra attention he gets sometimes he also asked that all labels be dropped. Another wow moment. I agreed, we all use labels as descriptors for various scenarios. Joshua stated very clearly that he wanted the label to describe him to be dropped. He just wanted to be accepted as Josh. Not Josh who is special or Josh who uses a wheelchair. In fact he wanted what we all want to be treated fairly and honestly like everyone else. What an awesome goal. This conversation was so enlightening because he was so excited and started to verbalize answers to questions so he is very passionate about becoming “unlabeled”.
What did I learn? Joshua keeps amazing me. His wanting to be accepted as a productive member of society is growing and growing. He wants to shed his “label”. Josh expects you to treat him as Josh a 12 year old. He is NOT letting his limits define him.
So I ask you look at yourself, what labels are you putting out there? Can you shed them? Can you drop all labels and look at creating opportunities for ALL in your community so that we can make the steps to make the world really accessible!!
Joshua is all in, all the time! Please join us to make it happen.