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It’s Not All About You

Posted on Dec.17, 2012, by , under Educational, Inspirational Stories

Dick Barbuto
When a person suffers from a disability/impairment/issue (or whatever the correct term is these days) there is a tendency to feel that all must somehow accommodate you. After all, you’re the one with the disability, right? Wrong.

Having a disability means that you must also take the time and extend the effort to let those around you know what is going on in your world and for you to realize how your disability is affecting them as well. It’s not all about you and you better realize that this business of living requires some work and education. With or without a disability, life is a two way street.

Now let me say this: some people just will not be able to “handle” your disability. I am not talking about those people. That is a very different post. I am referring to the people who simply do not know what to expect from you, how to react to it or how to be helpful. You have to educate them just as you educated yourself about your disability. I cannot tell you how many times friends have said to me “what am I supposed to to when . . . ?” They simply do not know and why should they? I usually tell people that if I need any help I’ll let them know. This is good for you and assists them in dealing with you. Be aware that, even after you say something like that, people are going to tell you that you are coming to a curb or stairs etc. Don’t get angry or throw a hissy fit. Thank them and be happy that you are surrounded by people who care enough to assist you in your mobility. I used to get annoyed with people who continually tried to give me unsolicited help after I asked them not to. How stupid was that? (If any have read any of my other posts for Enhanced Vision you will already know that I can be remarkably stupid.) Any time someone offers aid to you be grateful. This is generally a good rule regardless of whether or not you are disabled. You can tell them you are OK but thanks.

One of the things that surprised me when I began using a long white cane was how many people did not realize it was an international symbol of blindness/low vision. Again, why should they? I don’t remember how I became aware of this fact and no one seems to know how they did either. I guess the point is not everyone will know. One of my canes has a golf grip and a large roller ball for a tip. Apparently, at a quick glance one restaurant patron asked me why I was bringing a golf club into the restaurant. My wife assures me that the guy looked serious.

Last thing for now. Your disability affects others. When people ask me what my biggest regret is about not having good vision I tell them that I regret the burdens it places on my wife in our everyday life. Her life has been impacted every bit as has mine. Keep that in mind. I did not sign up to be blind. She did not sign up to be married to a blind person. It’s not all about you.

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