When a disability rains on your plans

Published on 9 June 2024 at 00:33

Image Description: A multicolored umbrella with rain drops

During the summer, people love to plan outdoor events, such as picnics and parties. After the long cold winter, many people are glad to be outside, at least when it is sunny. When a storm happens people have to scurry indoors, and events are cancelled due to the weather. Having a disability is like a journey through a storm. I make plans and work hard and despite my effort, the rain comes. Sometimes the storm is a gentle mist, other times it can be a powerful storm. I have had a disability rain on many of the plans that I had for my life such as driving, education programs, and employment. 

Having a disability rained on my school years. I found it harder to learn and absorb information. I also struggled to make friends with my peers.   I was different and labeled an outcast. 

My disability washed out my ability to drive. My family knew that with my coordination skills, driving would be challenging and had me wait. When I was 17 my parents had me mow the field.. Instead of making long straight lines, I made crop circles! I also almost ran into the family garage, when my mom was having me practice driving up our long driveway. The person who evaluated me did not recommend getting my license.

Having a disability rained on plans for pursuing college programs that involved math or other difficult courses. I knew that being a certified teacher would not be a wise choice, because of the testing, and the courses it required. Other people did not understand this choice. I remember someone saying that if I could get my act together, I could be an Elementary School teacher. I found a program with the least amount of math and science possible with a program that interested me. My college years were not always easy but I was able to graduate with a bachelor's degree.

Not driving prevented me from being able to get to jobs and other employers required a license even if driving was not part of the job. I have also struggled to learn how to perform the functions of the job, especially if it was new information. I lost jobs because I made too many mistakes, and could not do it. I have found a job working as a para educator to be rewarding and will be with my employer for 14 years this fall. 

Having a disability may have rained on many of my original plans, but I have found that the new ones turned out so much better! The difficult years in school helped to shape me into a strong resilient person. I also found a love for reading and writing that let me escape into a different world. I also developed empathy which helps me to help others who are struggling. provide shelter for the storms that they are facing. My struggles in college, helped me to find the right program for me and taught me how to advocate. Not driving has helped me to stop and notice details. I also get to take pictures of beautiful flowers, but I would not get the opportunity if I were driving. The jobs that didn't work out, lead me to an even better one as a para-educator in a school. I will be with my current employer for 14 years this fall. I may not be able to stop all the storms of having a disability and it will cancel many of my plans. The pain of losing dreams never leaves and I may cry with the cold rain. Other days I find joy during the shower and you will find me splashing in puddles and dancing. I am moving forward and not letting my disability stop me.



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