by Amy Brooks 4/23/2023
At MKRD Consulting, we are fans and practitioners of self-determination principles. A person is in the driver seat of their own life; there are certainly passengers in the car, choices to be made, and we advocate for stopping to ask for directions. However, the driver’s seat is theoretically reserved for each person who is looking to, like every human on this planet, live their own most meaningful life, with supports to achieve success.
Way back, in a distant time affectionately referred to as the early AUGHTS 00s, when I was best described as a quirky teenager with BIG DREAMS (and a side of Cerebral Palsy), my mom was driving me to play practice. Our radio jam session was interrupted by a “typical” hourly traffic update.
Upon hearing the common refrain of the traffic reporter calling attention to a "disabled vehicle on the shoulder of the road,”
I curiously asked:
“Mom, why do we always hear about disabled vehicles on the radio, it doesn’t seem fair that disabled vehicles are the only ones that people mention. It’s like we are bad drivers or something?!”
Since our family is known for using humor in everyday life while educating, when necessary, my mom responded after gently laughing. “the disabled vehicles you keep hearing about are not a type of car like a van with a ramp, but a vehicle that was not currently working, temporarily NOT ABLE to move.”
Laughing along at my language faux pas, I realized that my own connection to disability caused me to think of the word DISABLED more broadly than intended by the traffic announcer.
As a professional advocate today, but more broadly as a person living her own unique life, I am here to remind YOU, dear reader, that each person alive is on their own path. Each experience is different based on one’s own background, knowledge, and choices. An OPEN MIND is the greatest gift anyone can have or find, and a door opening at any pace is worth the wait.
After all, a person may have a DISABILITY, which can in fact mean that there may be some way they CAN NOT MOVE, BUT- if we all moved in the same way toward the exact same goal, there would only be one type of car to drive down one type of road. In that case, the world would not operate as it should, full of possibility, purpose, and color! That bland, one-way straight road would become a truly disabling condition for all.
Thanks for reading! Breathe and feel free to share how you are embracing your individuality today!