One of my favorite duties as the CEO of LifeBridge Partnership is to participate in ability awareness events at local schools. Children are naturally curious and loving. And, I believe they just want to understand our world. When given the opportunity, they ask wonderfully honest questions. By asking questions, they learn to understand what they are observing or experiencing. Understanding promotes empathy, acceptance, and inclusion.
At a recent ability awareness event, the speaker engaged the students by asking them about soccer: Do you play soccer? Do you use your legs and feet to play soccer? Did you know there are other ways to play soccer? She went on to explain that people who use a wheelchair also enjoy playing sports. And, for someone who uses a wheelchair, they play soccer by rolling their wheelchair and pushing the ball. The speaker said it so well, “Each person has their own normal.” She pointed out to the kids that their normal was to play soccer by running around and kicking the ball with their feet.
Another speaker demonstrated how every person has ways in which they adapt how they do something. She provided examples such as people wear glasses to see better or some people use a wheelchair to move around or people who are unable to speak may use a device to “talk.”
Normal – it’s what EACH of us is. Our own unique, wonderfully made individual being with hopes, dreams, abilities, and the need for someone to help us or to adapt the way we do something to make it work better for us.