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Equal Opportunity, NOT!

Laws demand that work places, services, schools and jobs be open and accessible to all people.

Laws contain loopholes that drive millions of Americans to forgo opportunities and suffer a prejudice that goes unnoticed – except by those enduring the inequality and their families. Growing up in the 1960s, I was part of the movement for equal rights. Hmm, that violent era focused on equal rights for people of all races. I raised my kids in the 1970s when the issue at the forefront was equal rights for women. Gender and race – covered.

Yet there exists a minority who consistently slips through the cracks, unable to unite and make enough loud noise to attract the attention of the overwhelming majority.

Millions upon millions of people with special needs, people who struggle each moment to do the daily tasks of living that the majority of people take for granted, often do not have the ability to speak up for themselves—at least not in ways or in big enough numbers to get the notice and attention they deserve. I speak from personal experience and a place of deep gratitude, for my challenges, though limiting my abilities and zapping my energy, are now in a state where I can move forward each day—even if in tiny steps.

Imagine, for a moment, gathering every bit of energy you can muster to stand and move using a walker only to be stopped by the heavy door at the Post Office.

I could not open the door because I lacked muscle strength and also because taking a hand off the walker would have caused me to lose my balance. Add in the fact that I also had no voice to ask for help. I learned how to function in my own altered body. Not every person who suffers physical limitations is able to push forward and make daily tasks doable in order to advance toward their dreams and live full out. For those who suffer illness or injuries, as well as those born with special needs, life in an altered body poses challenges unfathomable to others.

Emotional pain deepens the suffering.

Knowing that others can breeze through each day – using their eyes to see, their ears to hear, their voice to speak, eating and drinking without a fear of choking – knowing that you can’t live easily and comfortably, sets you apart. For people who come to this new way of being, knowing what they lost drives the pain even deeper. Grieving for the you who no longer exists tears at your heart and deep core. It takes time to accept the reality that healing does not mean you get to be how you used to be.

Healing is accepting yourself as you are now and moving forward doing what you can do instead of mourning what you can no longer do.

People with emotional as well as physical issues spend money on drugs and therapies that healthy people escape. The drain on family resources creates additional stress for everyone who loves the challenged person. Seeking help, providing care and support – the list goes on. The drain on caretakers often seems overwhelming due to the shear exhaustion of being there emotionally and physically while living your own life too.

Learn to live from your heart.

Notice those who need your help. I am talking about families as well as the challenged individual. Your love and your support can change lives. Unless you pay attention, millions of people will continue to live under your radar.


For more posts by Ali Bierman, click here.



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