- The Gift of Special Needs - How Do I Connect with People with Special Needs?
- By Joey Papa - transcribed from
- Content note: Ableism and shame, may be deeply offensive to many people with disabilities
- If you’re someone and you want to connect with a family that has children with special needs, or you wanna connect with someone - um - directly that has a disability or a medical condition but you feel intimidated and you feel like you don’t know what to do, this is something that has really helped me that I’ve discovered - um - in my journey.
- When I can see myself in another individual, I immediately am able to break down those walls of separation. I immediately am able to connect with them on a more human level. And this is what I mean.
- So I want you to think right now of the most shameful, embarrassing thing about who you are, ‘kay? I want you to find that thing, whatever it is. And then what I want you to do is imagine yourself walking into a public place and someone has a video screen and begins to show the entire public what that shameful, most embarrassing thing about you is.
- How would you feel? Right?
- Humiliated. You’d feel self-conscious. You’d feel like you wanna crawl under a rock and die.
- Uh, and when that thing is playing on the video screen, everyone turns and looks at you, and begins to stare at you in...awkwardness. In not knowing what to say or to do.
- And that is how many people with a physical disability - with - a child with special needs feels. One of the most shameful, embarrassing things about who they are is a part of their physical body. Think about that. They are wearing that on them. That is a part of their physical makeup.
- And so, when you can connect with the thing in YOU that feels shameful and embarrassing. And how would YOU want to be treated? How would you want someone to respond to YOU in that moment is exactly how you should respond to someone with a medical condition, a disability, with special needs. All of a sudden, there is a heart full of empathy and compassion because now you can understand how someone would feel. You would want someone to see right through all the shame, and you would want someone to look you in the eye and see the true you, for who you truly are on a human, fundamental level. So now I dare you to go out and do just that.
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