Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

Differently able

We were in York Minster and my six year old son, Arun, was making bouncing up and down excitedly going, “Boing! Boing!

 

An old priest, dressed all in black, with a long drawn face looked at him disapprovingly. “Shh!” he hissed at Arun. “You’re in a place of God!”

 

Arun looked at him a little bewildered. The tall, thin priest moved away and started talking to some other sight-seers a few yards away.

 

Arun resumed his happy play. “Boing, boing!” He was enjoying the echo that the cavernous cathedral was giving his voice.

 

The priest looked over disapprovingly and pointed at Arun from across a few pews. “Hey! Hey! Be quiet!” he commanded.

 

My wife Clare was winding herself up to defend her son, “Don’t point at my son…” she started.

 

I walked swiftly across to the priest. “I’m sorry,” I said. “My son is disabled. He has cerebral palsy and autism. He enjoys places like this differently to the rest of us.”

 

The priest’s hands went up in a defensive, apologetic gesture. He nodded, understanding, “I’m sorry,” he said, looking a little foolish, his eyes imploring forgiveness.

 

A few days later we were at Brimham Rocks on the Yorkshire Dales (we’ve just returned from spending half term holidaying up there). Brimham Rocks is a spectacular series of rock formations set on a hill with wondrous views across the green, rolling dales all around.

 

Arun was happily running along with his sister, Meri, in his unusual skipping, unsteady, cerebral palsy gait. We got to a set of daunting looking rocks. “I want to climb them,” he said.

 

Clare and I looked at each other. “What do you think?” I asked.

 

“Let’s see if he can do it,” she replied. “We’ve always let him test himself.”

 

And so off we went. We found a path up the rock formation, Arun making is way up: scrambling, crawling and heaving until he stood proudly at the top of a three metre high summit. Incredible. His perfectly able four year old sister clambered up as well. Arun had needed support and a lot of help and encouragement to do it but he had done it.

 

“He’s so determined,” said him mum, beaming with pride.

 

“He wouldn’t be alive if he weren’t so determined, “I agreed.

 

And that’s the thing about disability. So often society focusses on what the disabled can’t do. Arun can’t sit still and be quiet in a cathedral but he can clamber up the most impossible looking rocks if he sets his mind to it, despite having significant gross motor skill problems because of his brain damage. Not just the disabled, we’ve got to learn to judge everyone around us by what they are good at, not what they’re not. Let’s focus on ability, not disability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the blogger and do not necessarily represent the views of Dad.info.

 

Related entries

Too old for this

Too old for this

It was late on a Thursday evening and Rodger and I were walking up Upper Street in Islington, looking for a Thai restaurant. We were a little worse for wear   “You OK?” he asked looking at my awkward gait. “Yeah,” I said with that little inflection that indicated...

The big day

The big day

I could hear the rustling from the room next-door and glanced at my watch: 6:30 am. I groaned to myself but there was a certain inevitability about it   The kids bounded into our room moments later. “Is Uncle Steve here? Is he here?” They asked excitedly. “Yes,...

The big questions

The big questions

I was walking home from school with my five year old daughter. As we approached our front door she looked up at me   “Daddy?” she asked in that tone of voice that all dads will recognise as a precursor to something that they’ve been pondering. “Yes?” I answered...

Latest entries

10 tips to support your child after break-up

10 tips to support your child after break-up

In 2020 Dad.info ran a survey asking 1000 separated parents about their experiences of divorce or separation and they generously shared their concerns and most importantly their tried and tested solutions. If you are looking for ways to save your children from being...

We Support The Parents Promise

We Support The Parents Promise

More couples discuss what they would do if they won the lottery than how they would co-parent their children if they separated.  87% of couples have talked about how they would spend a lottery win. Just 5% admit to having discussed potential parenting...

ASK DEBBIE- MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME

ASK DEBBIE- MY DAUGHTER DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME

Dads, do you struggle sometimes? Who do you reach out to for help? Debbie Pattison, a qualified counsellor at Fegans can answer your questions. Send them in to Ask Debbie at info@dad.info and if she can she will answer. Today’s question is about problems in...

Pin It on Pinterest