Independence, empowerment, accessibility, equality, universal design — these words are often used in describing positive aspects of disability. Here now are some of my favorite words as they relate to living with a disability.
Improvise: Because I don’t have full use of my hands, I have had to find alternative ways to perform some daily living tasks. For example, I started writing in grade school using my chin to guide the pencil. Now at work, I use a belt from an old bathrobe to pull my office door shut.
Spontaneous: Who likes to always have to plan ahead? It can be more challenging for people with disabilities who may not have access to transportation, etc. It’s sweet when the planets align so that you get to go on a spur-of-the-moment trip to a movie or to dinner with friends.
Anonymous: There are many times when I just want to blend into the crowd and not be noticed. I’d never make a good bank robber.
Modesty: When I have to rely on others to help you with personal care, modesty can be hard to achieve. However, when and where it’s possible, it’s wonderful.
Chocolate: When my reacher doesn’t reach far enough or my attendant doesn’t show up, Hershey’s is my best friend.
Sarah Coyle is the Information and Referral Manager at Paraquad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.