Over Thanksgiving I got to see my sister! In between making lots of desserts, eating lots of desserts, and petting reindeer, I got the chance to ask her what she thinks when people talk about her disability in public. Here is what she told me:
First we talked about kids who say, “What’s wrong with him?” when they first see her (catch up on that post here!) She told me it makes her angry when people say that, but she likes it when my mom or I tell them about her disability so they understand why she’s disabled and think she’s less “weird.” She also wishes they would start normal conversations with her rather than immediately asking about her disability. Despite the fact that she doesn’t like people asking, “What’s wrong with him?” she actually hates it more when people just stare at her, especially little kids.
After that I asked her about the tour guide in Turkey (catch up on that post here!). She told me she didn’t remember the tour guide or Turkey at all really, so I explained how the tour guide thought the House of the Virgin Mary could heal her. She told me she would have liked the house to heal her disability so she could walk again.
I was so happy to be able to interview my sister and get her take on these stories. People with disabilities are so often left out of all conversations, especially conversations that are ABOUT THEM! I am guilty of this myself at times. But the change starts with us; it starts with us asking our family member’s opinions, asking them what they want, and then showing the world that the opinions of people with disabilities MATTER.
I challenge you to ask your son or daughter or sister or brother their opinion on one thing this holiday season that you wouldn’t normally ask them.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your family! I’ll reach out again in the new year, but in the meantime I’d love to hear, what are your hopes and dreams for the new year? Let me know in the comments below!