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Monday, 7 February 2011

How is life as a disabled person in a mainstream world?

I have spoke about some of my struggles of attending mainstream school, which were always made more difficult due to the continual health problems that I experienced but in this post I want to focus my attention to how I coped with the adjustment required to go through mainstream schooling and cope in mainstream society. Living with a disability no matter how 'normal' you are treated by people around you will always provide challenges that many able bodied people will not ever have to think about.

Throughout my schooling I experienced some high points but I also experienced some low points. Many of my low points were as a direct result of other people and their attitudes towards me and my disability. The low points when bullied which made me feel all alone. Outside of the times I was bullied I always loved going to school but when I was bullied my school life became miserable. Now I am older I can see its because people did not understand me, cliché as it sounds I was bullied because I was different. I only wanted to be liked and so this meant I tried to fit in and be the same as everyone else although this did not always work.

As I got older this made me stronger, I always felt that I had to prove my capabilities, which in turn has made me quite hard on myself. Some of these traits I have carried into my adulthood and am unlikely to ever change now. When I first went into mainstream I remember being provided with help and pushing this help away, I wasn't always able to do this in the best way and so most likely upset people along the way. I had to do this though to prove to myself and other people that I was able to look after myself and didn't need any special treatment just because I was in a wheelchair. As I have got older I have learnt to be more diplomatic and if I turn down help now I decline in a much more polite way.

The main time that I feel I grew as a person and really began to experience life as a person rather than as a disabled person was when I went to Upper School. During my time at the school, life was not always easy and there were times that I was still bullied but I can look back at this time with much happier memories.

It was the time when I met real friends (some who I am thankfully still friends with today) and experienced real life. I went to parties, I went to the cinema, I had crushes and relationships, I got into trouble but most of all I learnt what it was to be treated like everyone else. I belonged to a group of friends who wanted to know me for who I was. I went through the same stages that all my friends went through, I had exam stress, too much homework and feeling sorry for myself but so did my friends. Although this is true, there was daily tasks that were always much harder for me which meant that I became tired quicker, I always have to give myself longer to get out especially when in the car because it takes time to get my wheelchair in and out of the car. This is also things that added to the difficult times because no matter how much people seemed to understand, could they ever understand fully?

I learnt then that I didn't cope with stress well and this has stayed true into my adult life. Unfortunately I didn't learn how to cope with it then and so at times found it very hard to cope with. I don't find it much easier now but at least I can recognise when I am getting stressed easier now and so it is easier to control the fall out of this happening. I came away from my GCSE year with something to show for my hard work and so then progressed into the Sixth Form to carry on with my studies. I did reasonably well in this time, few ups and downs but I coped it gave me more time to grow as a person and grow in confidence especially after passing my driving test which I was going to learn was the best thing that I ever did as it gave me the independence that I required.

1 comment:

  1. A disabled person still has a role in the world. In fact, many disabled people work their way to make themselves useful for the people they love. “When there's life, there's hope” - this is true! Also, if a disabled person's mobility is in question, his/her family members can get a social security disability insurance to gain some benefits.