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Post Reply Your experiences with disabled people
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34 / M / new jersey, u.s.a.
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Posted 11/17/13
i worked in several group homes taking care of adults with autism (low functioning) for almost two years. it was a humbling experience.
Posted 11/17/13 , edited 11/17/13
Need A LOT of patience and an enthusiastic attitude.

v Nice response.
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25 / F / in the land of th...
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Posted 11/17/13 , edited 11/17/13
the mind,
talent,
the courage of the heart,
the strength of the soul....

that is what matters to me..

love comes in many ways......
not in the perfection of the body...
LoomyJ 
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Posted 11/17/13 , edited 11/17/13
One of my great aunts started to develop Alzheimer's about three years ago.

I remember first noticing it when I was on the phone to her and she kept repeating herself and asking where her husband (who died about ten or twenty years ago) had gone and if he was going to be back soon. Of course, it started to become more apparent that she was suffering from it and was eventually moved out of her home and put into a care home. The visits I made with my mum and sister were lovely and we always sat there and listened to her talk about the past yet they always led to me becoming very emotional afterwards.

Anyway, last year she was urgently rushed to hospital with heart failure where she passed away on the 12th March, which is my birthday.

I also suffer from a condition called Essential Tremor and I've had Tinnitus from a young age. Essential Tremor is a condition which causes involuntary movements (my symptoms being shaking of the hands, twitching of the head and some stuttering) which leads to some activities such as sewing and carrying a glass of water to be quite troubling at times.


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27 / F
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Posted 11/17/13
I have moderate cerebral palsy which means I have a hard time walking on slick/uneven surfaces, climbing stairs (I am VERY afraid of them. It's gotten so bad that I haven't used any staircases in 2 years.) and even talking sometimes. I'm also fully blind in my right eye and deaf in my left ear. I have diminished right-side function (roughly 30% of my arm, 5% of my hand/wrist, 60% of my leg) and my right side is also much, much smaller than my left.

I was bullied a lot in school but wasn't fortunate enough to have anyone stick up for me. Even when I complained to teachers and higher-ups, nothing was ever done about it. So, yeah.

It really stinks, but you just adapt, I guess? I can't really say anything positive since my life is far from a happy one. Thank goodness for animals, because humans really suck.
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30 / F / California
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Posted 11/21/13
I've had many experiences working with/being around disabled people and I have my own experience of being temporarily disabled for close to a year (which I guess doesn't really count too much). When I was still in college, for my genetics class, we had the opportunity to volunteer working at a special needs (most of the children there had Down's syndrome or other disabilities) elementary school to help out with the kids. I mainly worked during their therapeutic horseback riding lessons, which the kids absolutely loved! I honestly loved working with the children, I love working with kids in general, especially when their face lit up when they did or answered something correctly.

As far as my own experience, I had a severe injury that left me in a wheelchair for about 6 months and then on crutches for close to a year. I honestly didn't realize how many places aren't wheelchair accessible or friendly to anyone with a disability until I was actually placed in that situation. Since my injury occurred during my last year in college, I was able to attend my classes with the aid of my family members. Unfortunately, a lot of people are inconsiderate (no real surprise there) when it comes to the disabled. I've had people intentionally slam doors in my face when I was trying to wheel myself into the building or I even had someone try to intentionally trip me when I was crutching myself to class.
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27 / M
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Posted 11/22/13 , edited 11/22/13
I find it much easier to interact with a physically disabled person than a mentally handicapped one. Half the time, they don't even seem to be on the same temporal plane I am. It's hard to understand them so the natural inclination is to give up. You really need to be SUPER patient and understanding to be with a mentally handicapped person. Most people don't have what it takes.
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Posted 11/22/13
I have a cousin who is mentally disabled. She is almost 30 I believe, but has the mentality of a grade school child. I love her though, and she is always kind to everyone. There's this guy at my church who has down syndrome, and he is one of the most dedicated people at mass. He has his seat and he always prays before and after mass. One time when I was selling rosaries and rosary bracelets, he saw me selling them and pulled his cousin over and pointed to a rosary and said he wanted one that I made, and that she should get one too. It was rather heart warming, and I was unsure of what to say <3

I have a childhood friend who has ADHD, and ever since we were little I had to help him in class. To this day I have to sit down with him on the weekends when he asks me for help, and go through things step by step, making sure he pays attention to what he's doing and working on. Sometimes it's a bit irritating, trying to get him to stay focus...but he's like a little brother to me so I put up with it still.

The HS I graduated from was known to have special classes for disabled students, and my community college does as well. They seem like the nicest people really, always saying hi and whatnot. I don't pick on them, and I scold others for picking on them for being handicapped (not sure if that is the motherly part of me coming out though).
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It doesn't matter.
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Posted 11/22/13 , edited 11/22/13
I've met plenty of people I could have sworn were disabled.
"hey, did you hear. Sir_Jamesalot used to be a guard."
"Lets pick on him now that he's not paid to make sure we get home safely."
"Good idea!"
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26 / M / UK
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Posted 11/22/13
My younger sister has higher functioning autism, as does my flatmate. I know plenty of people with dyslexia (though that's a learning difficulty more than anything) and I used to know someone with MS.

I've got a pretty hefty understanding of autism now to the point where it irks me when others use "autist" as an insult or claim that being autistic makes you stupid/lazy/irritable/grumpy. My experiences with my sister differ vastly to those with my flatmate - my sister has yet to figure out how she can beat back the part of her autism that makes her depressed because of underachievement while my flatmate and I can have full conversations on really high-level thoughts.

I've given characters in my books physical disabilities and a few mental disorders here and there but I've yet to try and pen in a character with a chronic mental disability. The issue I have is that I like to really get into my characters' heads and that can be hard to do with someone on the autism spectrum, for example, since while I have a good understanding of autism I don't know how an autist's mind works enough to contextualise their thoughts or actions. Physical disabilities - missing limbs or arhritic joints - pretty much just become characteristics in my books rather than definitions of the character in much the same vein as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones.
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Posted 11/22/13
'i first became aware of disability with an Autistic guy in my 3rd grade gifted class. He really liked space stuff, and could memorize things really well. He would randomly repeat clips of books and poems, and he said "Three men in a tub. Three men in a tub" a lot. He seemed like a nice enough guy, though. He would often try to help people if he saw they were struggling with something (though not always successfully).

Right now my grandfather has Parkinson's disease. He has trouble holding things, and he's really embarrassed about the whole thing since he used to be a very proud guy. I haven't talked to him in a while. I kind of don't know how to start, but reading this thread I think I will just give him a call. I think feeling isolated and helpless may be the worst parts of a disability.
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Posted 11/22/13
If you treat some as a person and not a item or a problem you then are treating them correctly.
Posted 11/22/13
My son has Cerebral Palsy but we(the family) treated it as so what! We never acted like it was a big deal.Sure he needed some extra help, physical therapy, lots of doc appointments. But that was his normal. I made sure the teachers were on the same page. He did all the things other kids did, just slower and thats ok. EVERYONE has disabilities in some form or other and that's what I taught him. In jr high/ high school he was recruited for the football team because he was a stocky kid. And yes, he played in every game. He was very well liked and never experienced bullying until he joined the adult world and went to work with the "normal" people. How odd.

Although he was always on time, never missed a day of work, and always won the employee of the year award, after 11 years they fired him. Real reason was the jerk manager didn't like people with disabilities and if you think the American with Disabilities Act protects....you are sadly mistaken. But he did get another job and has had it for about 8 years now. But he still has to "fight" ignorance with his fellow co-workers(all male btw). You do have to be your own advocate at some point.

I also work with adults and teens who have physical, emotional and mental disabilities. Sadly, most have or do experience bullying. But I like to point out that no one is perfect, the fact that someone is a bully shows a disability in empathy. I also tell them they have the right to fail. Sometimes you just need more time for success, or not. Maybe it's just not your thing, never know till you try and try. Just like the rest of us.
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22 / F / LV.
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Posted 11/22/13 , edited 11/22/13
I have a family member who's in a wheelchair, from an accident and has some deformities. I only got to know her recently at a family party, so I didn't know her before the accident. Not a lot of people went up and talked to her (because not many knew her), but I treated her like I would treat any other person. Well, any other family member haha. After getting to know her I found out she is hilarious! We hugged, talked, joked, ate, danced, and played games together that day. It was fun!

When I was in High School we had a lot of special kids, and honestly I loved them all. Their PE class lined up with mine and it was so fun playing with them (even though they were in a different PE specifically for them). I would often ditch my own class for a bit to go hang out with them. After that I'd see them in the hall ways, eating in the cafeteria and I'd sometimes go out of my way to say hi. This boy, Justin, I loved him SO MUCH. When we'd spot each other in the hall way he'd do this little spiel about us both wearing glasses. Every time! It was so cute. He also liked to hold my hand and walk me to class, which was the sweetest thing ever. Sometimes I'd hold his hand and walk him to class if they were nearby. I was so depressed when he graduated before me! I also loved when I TA'd for the main office and had to go over there. They'd all wave and say hi and I would smile and say hi to each individual. Aw man, one of my fondest memories in high school.

Anyways, those are my experiences. I mean, I usually just treat everyone like their people because THEY ARE. Often there's a lot more patience, but I'm already a patient person.
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F / Earth
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Posted 11/22/13

sunadajae wrote:

'i first became aware of disability with an Autistic guy in my 3rd grade gifted class. He really liked space stuff, and could memorize things really well. He would randomly repeat clips of books and poems, and he said "Three men in a tub. Three men in a tub" a lot. He seemed like a nice enough guy, though. He would often try to help people if he saw they were struggling with something (though not always successfully).


That sounds like my youngest son. He's severely autistic and highly intelligent. He can read, spell huge words and do fractions at age 4. He is trapped most times in his own mind and by his obsessions. He is also echolalic like the guy you mentioned and has sensory issues. He's sweet & I love him to bits, but he has his "episodes" when he attacks me because he can't deal. My arms are all scarred up, I've had some bruises, and he broke a TV & a pair of glasses when he hit me. I'm the target of all his rage, no matter who or what made him frustrated. He's made great improvements with early & intensive therapies (before he couldn't speak or eat solid foods) and has calmed down a bit because of it. I hope that now once we get him into ABA therapy he'll stop gouging the skin off my arms. It really isn't as bad as it sounds, but I am sick of it, and yes, I'm not a saint and occasionally I do get pissed, but when I am, I hand him off to another family member to give me a break/give me my sanity back. I also just found out that one of my older kids has a learning disability and processing speed issues although he has a near genius IQ. He may have Asperger's too....he's currently being tested for that. I have internal medical problems, but none of them are considered "disabilities" even though they should. My oldest has a touch of OCD, but only when he's frustrated, and it is practically nothing (he gets tics, like nose twitching). Now that I'm "experienced" in those things I am beginning to think the odd personality "quirks" of another one of my kids may be somewhere on the autism spectrum. He's going to be getting tested.
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