I want to clarify; that their almond eyes, their sweet smiles, their shorter height, and the many others features of their genetic makeup don’t make them special but unique. People might think that they know them just by associating their features with the common prejudices that surround their condition, but as the mother of these two, I can assure you that you don’t know them, unless you really do.
Each of my children is unique and different in his and her own individual way. Yes, they are sweet. Sweet to the people they love. No, they are not always sweet, and you should not expect them to run to you with a hug or a kiss for your cheek. The hugging thing is not in their genes, but in the values and the rules their parents have established to raise them, as it would happen with any other child.
I don’t expect them to stick to me forever because they have a disability; even though, as any other parent, I would like to keep them as close as possible to me, just so they know that I’m always going to be here for them.
I want them to pursue their own dreams, to learn from their own mistakes, and to accept with dignity and pride that they are not more or less special than anyone; that they, like everyone else, are unique simply by being themselves.
I don’t care what people call them but I do care how they perceive themselves. I know that some things will never change, and some others will take still longer than I’d like to evolve. In the meantime, I don’t want their lives to be affected by the helplessness that comes from being judged or diminished. I want them to not ever settle for less than they deserve, and I want them to learn to use all that they have in order to become their own best advocates – stepping into my shoes someday.
I’m not concerned about their disabilities, but deeply excited about their abilities.
I don’t believe in inclusion as a law, but in natural integration as a human right. I don’t like to fight but to help people understand that differing abilities is natural, and a person’s value and worth in this world isn’t dictated by the shape of our eyes, but by the strength and determination of our hearts.