Let me start off this story by telling you something that just completely warms my heart. My mother works at a vocational training facility for individuals with special needs. I have known most of these individuals since I was a little kid and no matter how long its been since I haven’t seen them, they always remember exactly who I am. Every time i’m in from school, I always go to visit my mother at work. I remember walking into the workshop and within seconds I was surrounded with familiar faces with the biggest smiles. I felt like a celebrity while everyone was giving me hugs, shaking my hand, and those who I have not yet met providing me with warm, delightful introductions. The ones I did not know did not hesitate at all to walk up to me to introduce themselves with great confidence and ease. There was at least twenty five of them around me all of course talking to me all at once trying to get my attention but I loved every moment of it. At first it was a tiny bit overwhelming because I knew there was no way I could’ve held a conversation for more than ten seconds. I have never seen so many smiles in front of me at once, but it was truly an amazing thing to witness because it immediately filled my heart with pure joy.
You see, when you hear the term “Special Needs” to most people it literally means individuals who have actual special needs that can’t be fulfilled on their own without assistance to maintain full effective functioning on a day to day basis. This is what many people think right away when they hear that term. But the thing is people with special needs are extraordinary humans that are put on this earth for a reason to teach us all a little something about life and how to really live it to its fullest potential and provide us with life changing lessons along the way. When I was at my mother’s work, never have I ever felt so much joy with the sight of over twenty individuals in front of me smiling and laughing while at the same time all enjoying each other’s company.
Always, and I say always look upon the label. See the able, not the label. When you judge someone based on a diagnosis you miss out on their abilities, beauty, and overall uniqueness they give to the world. I know many individuals with special needs who see the world like no one else ever thought imaginable. They don’t care about other people’s opinions about them, they are always smiling, and most importantly they have the absolute biggest hearts in the world and all they want is love, joy, and happiness. The only disability in life is a bad attitude and in the wise words of Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Stay humble, treat everyone with respect, and always have a big heart. You will soon find out that they rewards are endless. We are all different but nobody should ever be considered less in this world.