After a missed visit...
One day I was in a large supermarket with Mathew who is in a wheel chair and can’t talk. We were waiting in the queue at the check-out. A little girl who was fascinated, come up to us confidently. I said to her:
- Would you like to say hello to Matthew? You can come up to him if you want to. What is your name?
- Marie she said. She smiled at Matthew, happy with this little visit.
- Why can’t your child walk ? She asked.
I was just about to reply when the girls mother, who was obviously embarrassed by the question which she considered too direct, took hold of her daughter’s arm and took her away to another check-out to avoid prolonging the conversation. What a pity!
As a mother, here is a word of advice: if you encounter people with intellectual disabilities, don’t be afraid of them! Take the risk of making contact, talking to them, smiling at them, and at their parents or those accompanying them ! Perhaps you are worried about being clumsy? It’s much better to be awkward than to choose being indifferent! Moreoever, with a little patience, you will discover within yourself and in others, the treasures of humanity!
Families who have a child with an intellectual disability may very well be isolated, but they are above all families in their own right. We should welcome them as such.
Would you like to share an experience or a testimony on what people with an intellectual disability can bring to our world ? Write to us here!