Differently Abled, Not Disabled

Rebecca Highton by Rebecca Highton Additional Needs

Rebecca Highton

Rebecca Highton

I am a mum of twins, one has special needs. I enjoy blogging about life and the reality of parenting.

As a person, I do not consider myself to be particularly sensitive or prone to offence, though I am part of the so-called ‘snowflake’ generation.

But one thing that does grate on me is the stigma that is still around disability.

Yes, Alfie is disabled, but he does not need your pity, and nor do I.

He may not be able to physically do everything that other children can do, but that does not make him any less of a person and does not stop him from going on to do great things.

The future is not set, and he can do anything he wants to.

We recently went to a birthday party for a child who turned 3.

Both Rory and Alfie were invited, but it made me wonder how long that will continue for- how long the invites will be addressed to both of them and for how long Alfie will be included with all of the ‘able-bodied’ children.

Though he may not always be able to join in physically, there is no reason why he cannot be included in fun and activities.

He will understand being excluded, though he has done nothing wrong.

And how can I explain that? What do I say when he asks about Rory being included and not him?

Because that day will come, along with so many other difficult days where Alfie asks questions that we will always struggle to answer.

When he asks questions that we fear and dread, not because the answer is negative, but because it means Alfie is realising that he is different and treated differently.

But there will also come days where Alfie achieves things others cannot.

Whether that is physically or academically, or later on in life in his professional career.

There is no reason why Alfie cannot have a bright and exciting future, just as Rory will.

It may take him longer to do things, or he may have different methods, but we will never hold him back and neither should others.

Take a look at the life of Stephen Hawking- he was a theoretical physicist who during his life achieved things other could only dream of and would never be able to accomplish.

Yet from the age of around 25, he was wheelchair bound and not expected to live much longer.

So why should Alfie be limited by the expectations of society?

Why shouldn’t he dream of a big and exciting future, just like his twin?

Yes, Alfie has a disability, but that does not mean he is unable, he is simply differently abled.

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