We believe racial, ethnic, and gender diversity is a valuable part of a community. We know different people think differently. We know different viewpoints are important to discourse. But why don’t we give that same credit to people with disabilities? Why don’t we look at them as another diverse group?
The truth is disability is as old as the body itself. It’s as old as gender, race, ethnicity…you name it. And it certainly impacts the way people see the world. So why don’t we consider it part of diversity?
In organizations, teams, and work groups, we try to include many different types of people. We aim to create a group that represents different populations. We should include folks with disabilities in this effort. I know that non-disability represents a larger group, but we must start somewhere. And a good place to start is to realize that disability is perfectly normal.
Here’s the thing I’d want people to know: disability isn’t bad. It’s not sad. It’s nothing to pity. It’s nothing to stare at. Disability is part of human life and should be treated as such. It is normal in my household, and it should be in yours. We all want our kids to interact with people different from them—it helps them grow. We should include disability in that “difference” so that kids learn about how different the human form can be.
My experience as a parent of a child with a disability is normal to me. It’s normal to most of my other friends, too. Yeah, it includes doctors’ appointments and therapy, but how is that any different from soccer practice and gymnastics? It’s the exact same thing!
We’ve got to find a way to normalize disability. Find other articles by this author here.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.