Disability and a Throwaway Culture

Claire Smyth by Claire Smyth Additional Needs

Claire Smyth

Claire Smyth

Perfectly good clothing and even toys often get tossed into the trash can when they are outgrown by the children who once loved them.

When an appliance develops a minor glitch, rather than calling a repairman to fix it, off to the dump it goes.

So many other things in our society are also disposable.

Most people, myself included, never think twice about using disposable diapers and dispsable wipes.

Who'd rather spend their time getting down and dirty wiping and diapering little poopy butts with washable cloth diapers and cloth wipes?

We use mops with disposable “wipes” on them to clean our floors with and we wipe down our counter tops and toilet bowls with disposable disinfectant wipes!

We eat off of paper plates, drink out of paper cups, and eat our food with plastic forks and spoons! Even contact lenses are disposable these days!

Now don't get me wrong, I really don't think that throwing things away when they're broken and using disposable items to make our lives easier are all bad things to do.

However, when that throwaway attitude begins to affect how the general population feels about certain types of people, it can become pure evil!

The belief by some that human lives are also disposable is beyond frightening to me.

I was recently devastated when a close friend of mine suggested that I place my daughter, Bethany, into an institution for the disabled so I could have a better life!!!

I was flabbergasted that she would think that way about my beloved and precious daughter.

Her callous attitude made it's despicable debut when I broke down crying one day while she was visiting.

Bethany's behavior had been quite upsetting that day.

To my bewildered astonishment, rather than supporting and encouraging me to continue in my attempts to understand and eliminate Bethany's behavior triggers, she told me to toss her out like a bag of trash so that I could have a better life!!

I cannot find the words to express just how heartbroken and crushed I was by this friend's cold and heartless statement.

If you are the parent of a child with disabilities who have placed their child in a living arrangement outside the family home please don't take my reaction to my friend's response the wrong way; I personally know several children who are thriving and much happier living away from the family home.

I'm fairly certain that the majority of parents who place their child outside of the home did not come to that decision lightly or do so because they felt that caring for their child was an inconvenience.

Sometimes good and loving parents have no other options and for the welfare of the child, parents make the agonizing decision to place their child into a living situation outside the family home.

Sometimes parents make such a decision for the safety of their child or the for the safety of other family members. Sometimes when our disabled children become young adults, they want to experience growing up, leaving home, and living as independently as possible just like everybody else their age does.

And of course, as parents of children with special needs grow older we need to get them ready them for a life without us and that may involve transitioning them into other housing options.

If you are the loving parent of a child with disabilities who has made the very difficult decision to place your child into a living situation outside yor family home.

Please do not be offended by my words.

My criticism is not meant for you.

My criticism lies wth the horrifying attitude that if a child’s disability causes an inconvenience, is annoying, or makes life difficult in any way then by all means just get rid of him or her!

This growing and disturbingly inhumane belief that a person with disabilities is as disposable as a broken toy or a dirty diaper makes my blood boil and also terrifies me.


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