Friday, August 27, 2010

My mother called herself a Retard... does that make me a retard Jr.?

We all have areas where we feel inferior to someone who is perhaps more skilled in that category. My younger brother is much more skilled at the Piano than I am, and my friend Kaelynn is a far better runner. When it comes to math, I feel like a second grader could succeed more so than myself. But likewise, If someone wants a portrait drawn or a batch of cookies whipped up, I'm confident I can do so with the end result being satisfactory. Fact. No one likes to feel stupid. No one likes to feel like a "retard". ... Retard? We throw this phrase around so loosely as an insult towards someone that has done something dumb. I'll admit I've done it before, I think most of us have, but how correct is this statement? I do not think anyone really means offense by it, they are just saying they are performing less adequately then they should.It's very unfortunate that that connection is made to those with "special needs". Something has dawned on me recently. I think that those that are diagnosed with retardation, are not retarded at all but rather everyone else that is considered normal, are the ones that perform less adequately. look at the way those with down syndrome treat the people around them. They are kind, and happy. They don't dwell on the imperfections of the world but rather grasp what's truly important, people, joy, ect. and when they aren't happy, they do not stay upset for long. Imagine how wonderful the world would be if we were all like that! I recently saw video about a remarkable medical mystery regarding a girl with severe autism. She throws tantrums, slaps her surroundings and is not even able to speak or communicate, until one day she sits at a computer and types. She types beautifully worded and intelligent thoughts to communicate how she feels. She explains that she is a prisoner to her body, and though she knows right from wrong, she cannot control her impulses. Carly, this remarkable autistic girl explains that her brain is wired differently than others, it appears to me that she is in fact, far more superior to the average person intellectually and because of this, It's too much for her mind and body to handle. She has extreme sensitivity to sounds, smells, taste, and touch, it's like mental overload. If I were able to be aware of all the conversations, sounds, and smells around me at once, I'm sure I'd go crazy too! I read a journal entry I'd written last fall while at school after I'd observed a blind man on campus. one day I was sitting in a building trying to figure out a math problem. In walked a blind man whom I'd seen around campus a lot. He was a music major, and from what I've heard is very talented. He had a walking stick but as I watched him, I noticed he hardly used it at all. It was incredible! I sat in awe as he weaved himself between the tables to take his seat. He did not even stumble. In my mind I recalled how I'd run into a chair on my way through that very same route earlier. I continued to do my math and began getting frustrated with what I was doing, I put my head in my hands and tried to calm down. Then I looked up. The blind man was staring at me. I know he couldn't SEE me, but he was looking directly at me tables away. And then, he smiled. I don't know what he was smiling about, But it felt like he was smiling at me. In a world so busy, I found it ironic that sometimes I can feel invisible to those around me, and here I was left with the impression that this blind man, was the only one who was aware I was there. Perhaps it was with his acute hearing that he heard me sigh or softly groan in frustration, but the fact of the matter was he was lacking the most obvious senses in which most people notice others, and yet he knew I was there. Normally, it's easy to think that I have an unfair advantage to those that are blind, because I can see however, it's with this experience that I can't help but conclude that blind people do in fact see more than I do, just not with their eyes. People in general are simply amazing, but I've begun to admire so much more those that we cast aside as disabled. I make mistakes, we all do, but frankly if someone wants to call me retarded I do not believe I am worthy of such a compliment. I'm currently an Art education major, but I think I've realized that what I really want to do is work with the special education department. Thoughts? Who knows, maybe this is just a phase but we'll see how it all turns out. Here is the link to that video I mentioned. Enjoy!

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