Don’t We All Have A Little Bit of a 'Problem Child' Inside?

The thread of ‘connectivity’ that people feel with a disability, or see in others, is the simple fact that we are all human. Remember we are all connected and trying to connect with others.

After recently reading the article in the New York Magazine entitled, “Are You On It?” I have been thinking quite a bit and today another wrinkle was cast in my view of disabilities and why some are ‘popular’ while others go without the required supports.  Why are some so easily accepted and supported while others are discounted as a product of ____________ (fill in the blank)? The article as you can see brought up a wide array of opinions. I chose to stay focused on the oversimplification that the title implied.

In the end I believe that the overriding thread of ‘connectivity’ that people feel they have with a disability or see in others is the simple fact that we are all human and THAT is where we find our commonality.  I believe the majority of people can find aspects of some disabilities within if they take the time to read the DSM-IV.  When reading the bible of disabilities be sure you note all the required elements necessary to have a disability and consider how those conditions can impact a person’s life.

In the 90s, I remember watching a little league game and listening to the mothers in the stands talking about which child was on Ritalin and who was not. Which mothers believed they had ADHD and needed Ritalin, while other mothers felt the need to confess they were ADHD because they could not make it through the day without writing down daily tasks.  IT wasn’t about asking for help, it was them trying to connect with each other and possibly empathize with their peers.

Are we not searching for a way to connect with each other, or others we do not even know? We humans are a fickle bunch. We are constantly searching for ways to connect, both face to face and from a distance. Some teens work really hard to look different, yet fit right in with their peers.  Individuals with disabilities want, and may need, to have separate opportunities yet want the chance to be included with typical peers.

Last year I listened to an Aspie describe the joys and challenges of growing up as a ‘Problem Child’.  After reading his memoirs, talking with both he and his mother I could not help but recognize the variety of ways he and the family were managing his disability, growing up, working toward a dream, and doing what he loved.  Overriding thoughts he wanted the people in the audience to remember,

  • “He would not have made it through High School without his family’s support.”
  • “If someone you know says they are thinking about committing suicide, take it seriously”
  • “People do discriminate against people who are different.”
  • “If you think life is too hard and you think it would be easier to quit, DON’T!”

Does this sound like anyone who may be considered a “Problem Child” in your life?  Remember we are all connected and though it may not always be acknowledged we are all searching for a way to connect with others.  Be willing to be that person for someone and support them as they fight their battles.

Rest In Peace Daryl Blonder (1981-2012)

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Jean Tubridy November 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Well done on a brilliant article. I am writing from Waterford, Ireland, and have spent a lot of my working life gathering the life stories of people with disabilities. The very concept of 'us' and 'them' in relation to disability is such a fallacy. Apart from anything else, which of us knows when we may find ourselves either suddenly or insidiously moving into that 'category' called 'people with disabilities.' And, what about the person behind the disability? You write of dreams and trying to negotiate or navigate life. Everybody has their struggles at some point along the way and what everybody needs is full recognition of their humanity and encouragement, support and resources to enable them to realise their full potential. Which of us does not have 'the child' still within us and that child comes with 'problems,' talents, dreams and most of all the need to be loved and to love. How right John Donne was when he wrote: No Man Is An Island No man is an island, Entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thine own Or of thine friend's were. Each man's death diminishes me, For I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee.
Elyse Landesberg November 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Attended Daryl's talk at Waterford Library last year; he seemed to be on a good path in his life. It was a brave thing to write his life's story, so sorry, so sad to hear of his death.
Daniella Ruiz November 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM
beauty is in the eye of the beholder. as well as what people see of others in themself. while some people are 'good' at some things, others are 'good' at another thing, but that difference is rarely considered a 'disability', as they often complement each other. life is a balance among all people, it's never a 'winner gets all' experience,despite waht some may think, as we all 'lose' eventually.


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