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Celebrating All Disabilities

Published: 2021-07-29 - Updated: 2021-07-31
Author: Kathleen M. Cleaver | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)

Synopsis: While the ADA has opened doors to inclusion and celebration of people with disabilities there is one group often left out in the celebration - people who have multiple disabilities and are labeled as severely and profoundly impaired.

Main Digest

On December 3rd we celebrate World Disability Day and July 26th is the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Much has been accomplished to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Access has improved for people with physical disabilities. Technology has opened opportunities to people with sensory impairments. Research for children and adults with autism has led to the development of programs to understand their talents, strengths and behaviors. Down Syndrome is no longer a diagnosis of inability. Many of these children are thriving in inclusion classrooms, sports, and occupations. Their accomplishments are featured in news reports and advertisements. We praise their efforts and achievements.

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While the ADA has opened the doors to the inclusion and celebration of people with disabilities there is one group, I feel, that is left out in the celebration - people like my sister and daughter and others like them who have multiple disabilities and are labeled as severely and profoundly impaired (SPI). Their success cannot be measured by test scores or athletic ability. You very rarely see them in news reports and advertisements. Because of their severe disabilities, employment, in most cases, is not an option. While services for them are available from birth to age twenty-one, families find themselves on waiting lists for services when schooling has ended. Instead of increasing the number of adult activity centers and intermediate care facilities, budgets in these areas are being cut. Dedicated men and women who staff these facilities are underpaid and not recognized for their work.

My daughter smiling, sitting in her wheelchair.
My daughter smiling, sitting in her wheelchair.

So, on these days I celebrate people like my sister and my daughter. They won't win gold medals or show improvement on an academic test, nor will they earn a ton of money. Their love, compassion and acceptance is the greatest accomplishment of all. We should learn from them!

On these days, let us celebrate ALL disabilities and the people who help them achieve their ABILITIES!

About Kathleen M. Cleaver

Kathleen M. Cleaver holds a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and the education of children whose primary disability is a visual impairment (TVI). During her thirty year career as a teacher, Kathleen received the Penn-Del AER Elinor Long Award and the AER Membership Award for her service and contributions to the education of children with visual impairments. She also received the Elizabeth Nolan O’Donnell Achievement Award for years of dedicated service to St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairments.

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Cite This Page (APA): Kathleen M. Cleaver. (2021, July 29). Celebrating All Disabilities. Disabled World. Retrieved January 20, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/awareness/all-disabilities.php