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Disability vs. ability

Ms. Ed. Special Needs Consultant | , Gary Shulman | , Trainer | 5/6/2013, 2:44 p.m.

There is no miraculous ending here; Matthew died after six glorious years on earth. Six years of love and joy. Six years of enhancing the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to have known this miraculous child. At his funeral were all the friends, neighbors, family members and admirers whose lives had been touched by this angel of humanity. The doctor who had diagnosed Matthew, of course, was not present. His memory lives on in every workshop I conduct.

His parents graced me with a gift that I will always cherish. Knowing that Matthew would soon be leaving this world, they had him record anything that he wanted to say to those people in his life whom he cared for. Sitting on my dresser is a small photo book with Matthew's picture in it. There is a button in that photo book. When you press that button, Matthew's sweet voice can be heard saying, "Hello Gary, I love you!" His spirit helps to motivate all parents of children with disabilities who have been told by "professionals" what their children would never be able to do. Just as the bumblebee--that should not fly, according to scientists--flies because nobody has ever told the bumblebee any different, 1so too will all children with disabilities continue to fly as long as we continue to recognize that behind every label of disability, there is a human being with abilities, talents, skills, passions and love to give and receive. We must never take the hope away!

Behind every child with a label of disability is a child with the ability to be cherished, praised and supported.