Living a good life with a disability

You want what every parent wants for their child. You want them to be happy and to live a good life.

But what does the world tell us about life with a disability? The 2016 film Me Before You tells us that it’s better to die than to live with a disability. Articles in the newspaper with headlines such as “Zika Virus Tied to Profound Developmental Delays” only help to further everyone’s fear of disability. And people in the grocery store looking down at your child with pity tell you that your child’s life is oh so hard.

Unfortunately, the whole world is constantly telling us that people with disabilities are depressed and don’t have a good quality of life.

But as you’ll soon find out, not only can your child have a good quality of life, but they are just as likely as you are to live a good life.

In his article, “A Point of View: Happiness and Disability,” sociologist, writer, and performer Tom Shakespeare discovers that having a disability isn’t correlated with a poor quality of life or unhappiness at all.

In fact, it turns out that people with disabilities are actually just as happy if not happier than non-disabled people.

Screenshot of the article on the BBC News webpage, features the title "A point of view: happiness and disability" and a picture of a girl in a wheelchair with her arms out wide towards the ocean in front of her

One topic I really appreciate in his article, is when Shakespeare discusses the difference between experiencing difficulty and being unhappy. He observes,

“Our appraisal of life with impairment may have less to do with reality than with fear and ignorance and prejudice. We wrongly assume that difficulties for people result in misery for people.”

Shakespeare goes on to write about the positive aspects of hardships. So not only are these difficulties not bad, but they can actually be good.

I hope this article can give you a quick dose of positivity. I hope it can bring you some peace of mind to know that your child can have just as good of a life and be just as happy as their siblings or their schoolmates.

The phrase I always want to stick in your mind is, “You truly can live a great life with your disabled child,” but this applies to them too.

Your child truly can live a great life with their disability.

Do you worry that your child is unhappy or has a poor quality of life? What do you think after reading this article? I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Shakespeare, T. (2014, June 01) A point of view: Happiness and disability. BBC News.

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