Friday, June 29, 2012

A Measure of Success

I have rarely heard of a person with developmental disability described as having a successful life or as being well accomplished.  I have begun to ask myself why that is and I have decided that, in general, the wrong measurement is being used for those terms.  I believe this to be true for much of the population, but especially for those with developmental disabilities.  Income, social status, and prestige are the criteria that society largely uses to determine, not only one's  success, but their value as a human being.  I want  to challenge all of  us to consider another mark of excellence, especially since these traditional ones are proving to be erroneous in today's political and economic climate.  I'm not suggesting that the standard be lowered, but different criteria be used.

The persistence, patience, courage and attitude that it takes those of us with socially stigmatized disabilities to live our lives is worthy of respect and admiration.  The desire to live in full integration with our able-bodied peers has been recognized as a civil right by our government and still there are those who behave as if "handicap parking" and public transportation are favors granted, instead of laws that were fought for by those with disabilities and the able-bodied who support such equality.

There are those who gave there lives for these legal rights to become the law of  the land.  At a Boston underground subway stop there is a memorial to a woman who was legally blind amd stepped too close to the platform's edge  and was killed by an oncoming train.  That's why there are bumps at the edge of subway station platforms and sidewalk curb cuts.  She lived a successful  life and is one of many heroes for those with disabilities.

This is just one example.  I encourage others to share success stories that have touched their lives.

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