Special olympics

Is there anything better than special olympics? I doubt it. I have volunteered in several sports for the past few years and cannot get enough. Unfortunately I am now unable to participate during most of the year because I’m away at school. Because I’ve missed it so much I decided to volunteer for basketball just for the month of January. I’ve only been to a few practices and am having the time of my life!

My dad mentioned that I probably am not being too big a help since I’m only there for a month.

Oh, that’s cute dad. 🙂 you thought I was going just to help. Nope. I go because it’s FUN!

I go because I meet so many new awesome people.

I go to say hi to old friends.

I go because the spirit of sportsmanship is abundant and alive at every practice.

I go because I want to get in shape.

I go because the teamwork I see there is spectacular.

I go because it makes me HAPPY!

Any “helping” that I do along the way is just a bonus, I guess. If you asked me who benefited most from special olympics, I’d probably say it was me.

I have to go now. I need to ice my face. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much!

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Disability and dating

I’m 22 years old and have never been in a serious relationship. Up until now, I have never had any interest in dating. However, I have recently found myself attempting to break into the dating world and have discovered many things:

1) it’s hard. It’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there. What is flirting? How do you know if someone is doing it? How do you do it? All my friends have told me that I’m naive and couldn’t see flirting if it slapped me in the face. I’m starting to realize they’re right.

2) it’s harder if you have a disability, especially a visible one. A girl screaming “HAGRIDS BUTTCRACK” is not a turn on for most people. And frankly, it would be kinda creepy if it was.

3) it’s hard to seek people out. Meeting through mutual friends is great, but it’s hard when all your friends’ friends are also your friends. I find myself consistently friendZoned.

So, you get the point. It’s hard. Anyone have any advice?

Disability and Hollywood

Yesterday I watched probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen. It was sappy, cliche, and boring.

Today, I’m adding it to my “favorite movie” list.

Wait, what!? Why?

The main character in the movie “spy kids 4d- all the time in the world” has a hearing impairment. It doesn’t affect the plot in any way, nor is it mentioned all that much. All you see is a bad@$$ kid who just happens to be a spy- and have bright blue hearing aids.

There’s no sob story. There’s no “Cecil is a spy DESPITE his hearing impairment.” What you do see is sibling rivalry, family tension and resolution, and a crappy storyline. You see a kid turn down his hearing aids when his sister talks to much, and turn them up to crack a safe open.

The best movies about disability are the ones that aren’t about disability. They’re about something completely different, but happen to include a character who has a disability. Their disability isn’t at the forefront of the plot, they’re just like any other character.

These kinds of movies present people with disabilities as they should be presented: just like everyone else with a few differences. And that is why, despite being an overall crappy movie, spy kids 4d is now included among my favorites.

Look out!

As I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a caregiver for adults with disabilities on my breaks from school. I love my job more than anything! But I have to say, I have some of the craziest experiences at my job, and most of the time it’s got nothing to do with my individual, but rather ignorant members of society.

Case in point: the other day I was grocery shopping with my individual, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had grocery shopping in my entire life! As we’re wheeling through the deli aisle, we see two young kids, (maybe 6 and 4?) running around. As we approach, one of them says “look out, a wheelchair! Don’t let it hit you!” They run around, “dodging the wheelchair” and making exploding sounds.

I was taken aback, and certainly appalled. I looked to their mother, who was yakking on the phone and clearly not interested in educating her children on people with disabilities.

I didn’t say anything. My job is to be a caregiver, and when someone is rude or ignorant, the last thing I want to do is call them out on it and make a scene while I’m with my individual. My job is to redirect and hope that someone else (the parents, maybe?) will stand up and be an advocate. Sometimes it sucks because I want to advocate the hell out of people, but can’t.

Instead, I found myself rationalizing their response by thinking how cool it was that we were a major part of whatever imaginative plot the kids were making up.

“As we were sitting, wondering how we were going to escape the evil three headed deli monster, a wheelchair zoomed by, ridden by an awesome person and driven by her caregiver. ‘Look out!’ I said. ‘Don’t let it hit you!’

But I had no reason to fear. As they zoomed by, they swooped up my brother and I, saving us from the clutches of the three headed deli meat monster. ‘To the chopper!’ They exclaimed, as we rode off into the sunset.”

Hey, it’s all in a days work 🙂