Before I even knew who I was, my life changed forever. As an infant, I was injured in a car accident caused by a drunken driver. But even though I was paralyzed and grew up with a spinal cord injury, I didn’t let my disability slow me down.
I learned how to do everything from feed myself to type on the computer and, eventually, drive my van. That may seem challenging to someone who hasn’t experienced living with a disability, but it was the only life I knew.
Even through all the hospitalizations as a teenager, I knew I couldn’t let those setbacks control my outlook on life. I had to keep my wheels turning. As a disability advocate, it’s not only about me. I share my story with others to change the perception society has about people with disabilities.
When you think of someone with a disability, you may envision an elderly white man who uses a cane, a young black woman who uses a walker, or even a wounded warrior who was injured while serving our country. Disabilities come in many forms. Some people are born with disabilities while others become paralyzed resulting from trauma. Sometimes, you can’t see the disability from the outside.
Regardless of how the disability occurred, all people with disabilities want to be treated equally and have the same civil rights and access to jobs and transportation as anyone else in the community.
The disability population is the largest minority group in the country. We each may have a family member or know someone that is disabled. We need to work together to make the world a more inclusive place.
We have the same goals and aspirations; it just may take a different approach to accomplish those tasks. Let’s support each other through the difficult times and have fun on this journey called life!