I had a comment recently from someone who read a previous blog. The observation was a fascinating one since it made me reflect on the way I write about Holly. Often when I tell a story about how she is getting on or when she has been creative I pose it in terms of her disability and how great it is that she managed to do whatever it was. Thinking about this I have realised that my mind seems to come from a place where all those things are great somehow because of her condition and that is just not right.
I guess I’m not the only one who might feel like this. We all have a part of us that applauds someone who prevails inside what can be difficult circumstance but there is a difference here between a solider who has had an injury and has learnt to walk again and a young lady who has had learning difficulties since birth. The distinction is that the soldier is returning back to the way he was but Holly is never going to be anyone else. Why then do I write about her in comparison to what ‘normal’ is? It is cultural, it is human and it is my upbringing to some extent however she is a stand-alone beautiful and unique human being. She, like the rest of us, should not be compared in achievement but rather celebrated as an individual in whatever she is or does.
I remember playing cards with Holly a few weeks after she joined our family. She immediately connected with the game. She had a mind that seemed to follow the cards and could easily follow the maths and ideas. Once again I put this down as part of her condition but this time not in relation to disability but rather her ASD giving her benefit due to autism often being linked to those kind of skills.
This framing of her life is not helpful though. Thinking about people in terms of what they are or what they have done is not a good way to be about each other. Would you want to be thought of in terms of your intellect or the worst thing you have ever done? Are we not more somehow? We are who we are inside each moment and it is in a moment that our whole being is in the picture. Our experiences, thoughts, abilities and disabilities can influence those moments of course but as carers we are not here to frame everything around this. We are here to love and care and see, as my pedagogic friends say, the diamond in everybody.