Imagine trying to write out the entire alphabet backward using only your toes as fingers. Close to impossible, right? This is what it feels like for a developmentally delayed student to write out the alphabet using his or her hands in order from A to Z. Now, I can only imagine you are feeling the same frustration with this task, but imagine having to deal with the anger and anxiety every waking moment of every time you try ta complete a daily task that society expects of you.
Mental retardation causes 20% of America’s children and adults to struggle with everyday tasks due to the expectations of the people around us.
Just about 40 years ago, children with mental retardation were shipped overseas to institutions where they were forced to live in prison-like hospitals full of no hope of progression, The average child who suffered from a developmentally delayed disease used to lack the ideal amount of support and mediation required for an optimal life.
To this present day, children who face these challenges are now receiving the medical attention and education they need, but they are missing out on one major aspect of life: Being accepted and treated equally. Aside from the help these children are receiving, it’s not enough for them to feel completely normal and accepted when aur society is constantly judging and making fun of them on a day-to-day basis. The constant struggle is that our society is lacking the education about people with a mentally delayed disease and how they are truly not so different than us.
The scariest part of reality is that at any given moment in time, a person could become disabled. Most of the mental disabilities people have were received later in life do to car accidents, falling down the stairs, or cell divisions that appeared in the future. Our education systems are lacking the awareness and support that these children need to be treated fairly. We need to come together as a community to tolerate, respect, and have compassion for those who have disabilities and continue to the future generations, Many people are extremely unaware of how unfairly people of disabilities are treated, when they are just as equal as you and I, We must start supporting people with disabilities by looking to them as productive, tactful, and helpful members of our society.
Negative attitudes and remarks towards people with disabilities truly do have an effect on them. For starters, it breaks their wall of self-esteem into shards of glass that cut into their feelings and emotions, These children and adults with disabilities often ask themselves, “Why am T treated differently? Why can’t Tbe like the normal people?” When in all reality, what really is normal? There is no such thing as being a normal person, which is why people with
mental disabilities shouldn’t even have titles like “Retarded” and “Slow”. Our community must begin with emphasizing the individual for the person they are, instead of the disability that they have. People who have disabilities would like to be recognized like everybody else for who they are and not for what type of disability they have.
For example, I was shopping at a local store the other day when I began to eaves drop ona conversation between a salesperson and their customer, | was absolutely horrified with the way this salesperson spake with this person. They spake as his person was a child or that they couldn’t understand what they were sng. The salesperson approached their customer by saying extremely slowly “Hello… May… I… Help… You…2” The customer responded with “Why are you speaking so slowly?” You can only imagine this customer’s frustration with the salesperson because the salesperson was being extremely judgmental of a customer’s appearance. The customer finally stated, “I’m not an idiot” and left the store without buying the merchandise in their cart.
When employees are being hired there should be mandatory workshops that focus on treating every single person they come in contact with 100% equal. This is completely outrageous and unfair. That customer should have been treated just as any other customer would have been treated. People who have mental illnesses are not treated legit mentally serious, which needs to stop. What ever happened to The Golden Rule? ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated, that rule applies ¢o each and every individual no matter what type of illness or disease they have. I can only imagine the amount of pain and suffering that person already deals with on a day-to-day basis, and now they have to deal with the idea that they aren’t like everybody else.
Another example of people with mental disabilities being treated unfairly, take place at restaurants and fast-food places. Just a few weeks ago I walked into Dunkin Donuts (as I do every moming) and a wonderfully cheerful man greeted me with a smile, To be honest, He made my entire day. As T was ordering my food, T heard an alder women start an argument with this gentleman, She had asked the manager if they could kick this “retard” out because he would not stop trying to speak with her children. When in reality, she needed to nicely ask the man herself to leave her and her children alone.
This man had a minor form of a mental disability where it appeared he couldn’t stop talking to everyone around him. 1 was furious because he was not causing a single person any harm what-so-ever, He was only interested in the small child’s colorful stuffed animals, Yet, this women treated him as an object, if he wasn’t even in the room. It appears our society struggles with the hidden traits of discrimination, ignorance, and being disrespectful towards others.
Before I left I couldn’t even help but buy the man a donut with colorful frosting because he looked as if he had tears in his eyes. This women is just a small example of how we need to start educating our society on how people with mental disabilities are not so different than you and me.
It does not matter if you dan’t know someone who has a mental illness. 20% of our population still have a disabling illness which means that there is a high chance of you meeting someone eventually under the disabled category. Even if for some reason you never come in contact with someone of a disability, there is no harm in educating yourself with the proper way to speak and behave around them. If we dan’t start educating our society on how to respect others, how can we except our younger generations to have respect for anyone? When we treat people with disabilities as if they are un-important and different, they lose their self-esteem and they also lose respect and trust for us.
For this essay I spoke with a speech therapist who often works with people who have mental disabilities, She encouraged me to cell others about volunteering far events such as the Special Olympics, which is a disabled adult program, These events focus on bringing out rue happiness from the kind hearted people that are often called Retarded.” The Special Olympics help people of disabilities to truly be themselves surrounded by others who feel as
if they are in the same boat. They are able to build friendships with many different types of people to overcome difficult tasks and obstacles. Once volunteering for this event, you will be able to realize that these people should not be treated any differently.
More importantly, you will start to question why anyone would treat people with disabilities different in the first place. People must begin to learn more about people with disabilities because they have a lot to teach us, They are able to prove to us to never take life for granted, They have respect for “Normal” people and are able to show us the true values of life.
People with disabilities don’t ask to be treated with special behaviors or special treatments. They are not asking for others to bend head over heels to treat them like they are celebrities, all they ask is to be treated just as equal as everyone else, to finally have the feeling that they aren’t any different from anyone else.