Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ability not disability

The rights of the child

During the last 10 days I have fallen in love all over again. This time the man in question is my grandson Tommy - I could sit and gaze at him for hours. To me he is perfect, he is already his own person with his own likes and dislikes- he's a cuddly baby and needs to be held close to you so that he feels secure. He is just a bundle of potential and I will fight to ensure he achieves that. His parents are in awe of this amazing bundle and can't believe the miracle that they have created. 
Thomas is extra special as he only has one hand. His right arm stops just below the elbow. He uses it, he scratches his nose with it, nudges his mum with it - to him it's the norm. Unfortunately to some adults it's something odd and they just stare. My daughter in law is understandably upset by this - it's a shame that all some people see is the difference not the whole person. Having been in the same position 25 years ago with a baby (Thomas' dad) who had a hare lip I understand her anguish. Adam had an operation to repair his lip at the age of 10 months and I remember being out with him with stitches on his lip and both arms in plaster casts ( to stop him pulling at the stitches)  when a woman sharing a lift was horrified and told me that 'people like me didn't deserve children as I obviously didn't look after him if he was in this state'- at the time I was too young and emotional to reply but I won't allow my daughter in law to be made to feel inadequate by narrow minded people.

I say 'difference' deliberately as he will be brought up with the slogan of the charity 'Reach' the association for children with upper limb deficiency who rightly insist that it is 'ability not disability that matters'. Thomas is lucky as he is surrounded by people who love him and will push him to achieve, others aren't so lucky. 
As adults and many of us teachers we need to set the tone. Children accept others for what they are and are open and honest, they ask what they want to know ' when will his arm grow?' ' why hasn't he got an arm' much better than a pitying stare! We need to concentrate on potential and see what people can do rather than worrying about what they can't do.
You will be seeing lots of this young man - I am already so proud of him and his parents-
 grandma J x

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you - your comment will be visible after moderation Jane