Disabilities need to be addressed, of course they do. We need to understand them in order to create a harmonious, livable world for all. But there are times where the word “disabled” is nothing but an adjective and children need to be treated as children.
Recently in New Westminster, BC, mother Anna Belinger was heartbroken upon receiving her Grade 2 son’s class picture. Miles Ambridge has an eye-catching smile, but it was the fact that he was separated by his class that could not be missed. There is a gap between the class and the boy in a wheelchair (he has spinal muscular atrophy.) The teacher’s placement could have filled the gap, or having the class could be moved to the left. Or the picture didn’t need to have everyone on benches anyway. What happened, after the company’s reluctance, was a retake was done and Miles was assisted to join the rest of the class on the benches.
Miles never saw the original picture, Belinger fears it will make him feel ostracized. “For some reason it makes me feel worse that he’s so happy in the picture,” Miles’s father, Don Ambridge told The Province. “I think it’s because he’s still innocent… He’s still naïve to how other people treat him.”
A family and their nurse were kicked out of a Massachusetts theatre performance of Beauty and the Beast because five-year-old Nadia Torres was making happy sounds. The little one has a chromosome abnormality and cannot speak. But the fact that she was giggling and humming happily to the performance is hardly unusual for a girl her age. Still, the family was kicked out, being told it was because Nadia was disturbing fellow theatergoers. Her mother, Samantha, says she did not see anyone complain, other than the ushers, and that the family was seated at the back of the theatre anyway.
These are children, children’s memories, times in their lives that will shape their future. Whether it is heartlessness, apathy or not taking the time to think – we as adults need to realize the power of our actions.
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