Thursday, September 24, 2009

Update to "Disabled Doesn't Mean Unabled" or A Hand Up Isn't a Hand Out

This story just keeps getting better.

What I love most about it is the reminder that just because Winfred Cooper received a hand up to help him achieve his dream, it wasn't a "hand out" and it didn't guarantee him success. HE caught the ball and HE ran for the touchdown. Yes, there was some help facilitating both of those things, but the ball could have slipped through his hands or he could have tripped on his way to the end zone. There are a host of variables that could have resulted in Coop not catching the ball and not scoring a touchdown. But at the end of the day, Coop did the work he had prepared to do in countless practice sessions over the years. He probably worked harder than many of his peers to achieve football skills many of them mastered with ease.

When discussing disability services, I hear so many people try to argue that it's not "fair" to give someone extra time to take a test or services to help them with activities of daily living or whatever "hand up" they need to give them a shot at success because this gives the recipient an unfair advantage.

People with disabilities, whether physical, neurological, developmental or mental disabilities, are just like everyone else. They want to feel good about themselves. They want to contribute to society in whatever way they can. They don't want things just handed to them or to be treated as incapable. They aren't looking to be coddled or to be pitied, but they often need just an extra hand to get them to the same starting point you and I take for granted everyday.

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