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Disability Pride Month - A time to Celebrate

Hoi Fei
12 July 2022 12:36

Do you know that July 2022 is Disability Pride Month? This is the month to raise awareness of people with disabilities and celebrate diversity. Very often we see people with disabilities as people who need help and who are vulnerable. Although that is true, it is also important to recognise that people with disabilities are just as precious as people who do not have disabilities and many have achieved much and have contributed to the society. We need to give opportunities to them so they can contribute. For example, many people with disabilities can work but they are often overlooked by employers so many are unemployed. 

Celebrating Success

This month I am particularly proud of my own son, Sean, who has achieved 100m distance badge. Sean has Down Syndrome. I think it is fairly well known that most people with Down Syndrome have learning difficulties, language and communication delays and some health issues. However, it is less well known that they have low muscle tones and as a result problems with fine and gross motor difficulties. I remember when he started school, he could not do simple tasks such as opening a water bottle because of floppy fingers. He started to learn swimming when he was about four years old and the progress was slow until we found a mainstream swim school that welcomed him. He struggled with back stroke because of a lack of core strength. However, now, at the age of 12, he can do all four strokes. Recently with the encouragement of his swimming teacher, he managed to get the 100m distance badge.

Sean with his 100m Swimming Certificate

See their abilities not their disabilities

This is all because teachers in one swim school welcomed him and saw past his disabilities. Over the years, I learnt to see what they can do rather than what they can't do. Very often when one mentions disabilities, one will immediately think of what they can't do. For example, someone who is visually impaired cannot see, someone who is paralysed cannot walk, etc. However, this is only part of them and they can do a lot of things. We all know and celebrate those Paralympians. And we all know famous people who have a disability, for example, Lord Blunkett, Lord Shinswin, Stephen Hawking, etc. I am not preaching ableism though. Of course there are people who have disabilities that severely restrict what they can do. However, I believe everyone is precious and everyone can do at least something. You may have someone who cannot walk, talk and has severe learning difficulties but very often he can still brighten your day by having a great smile and zest of life. My daughter's friend has a life limiting condition and disability but she is the most cheerful among her peers and she has such a positive outlook of life.

I am glad that so many organisations up and down the country have already embrace people with disabilities, focus on what they can do and give them opportunities. I hope that many more will follow their examples.