Disability awareness: Appreciating differences

Shae Hulen

March is Disabilities Awareness Month. As someone with a disability, I wanted to share my story with our readers.

Disability Month is dear to me because I was born with a disability.  The disability I was born with is Spina Bifida. Spina Bifida is a congenital defect of the spine in which part of the spinal cord and its meninges are exposed through a gap in the backbone.

It often causes paralysis of the lower limbs, and sometimes mental handicaps. Throughout my life I have had 20 surgeries or more.

I have had to go through physical and occupational therapy to get my upper body strength up to be able to do things on my own.

When I was going through early school it was hard to make friends because I felt like everyone judged me for being in a wheelchair.  I only had four friends going through high school.

I think it is important to celebrate Disability Awareness Month because people with disabilities are just as important as people without disabilities. I think on a day to day basis people don’t think about what it is like to live with a disability unless you are living in their shoes.

From now on I think we need to fight not only for more advances but to retain the accomplishments of past decades. It is a fight in which we must all be in together.

There are many ways for someone to celebrate this. One way to celebrate is to have a speaker come to your school. Throughout my high school education I spoke to the freshman classes and did activities with them to have them experience how hard it was for me to do daily tasks.

People should take at least five minutes out of their day to appreciate someone with a disability, even if it isn’t disability awareness month because everyone should treat people the way they want to be treated.