Lessons from special people

Hey blog world! I have spent the majority of my life in the company of individuals with special needs and I’m very happy about that. I’m also very happy to be part of that community myself (I have Aspergers Syndrome and Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum). People with special needs are incredible people! The world can really learn a thing or two from them, I know I did!

Sportsmanship: I have been a bowler with the Special Olympics for 8 years now. It never ceases to amaze me how everyone behaves in competitions. They act as though there  is no opposing team, no competition at all! Everyone cheers everyone on! When someone gets a strike there’s high fives all around and the entire bowling alley erupts in cheers! It’s incredible! I also love watching medal presentations. I love seeing how happy everyone is for each other and how happy the athletes are with whatever they receive. Last year, at a rhythmic gymnastics competition, a young girl with Downs Syndrome received a 6th place ribbon. A huge smile came across her face as everyone cheered for her. She said “I think I might cry!” as she excitedly made her way to get her ribbon. She was happy as a clam because she did good and won a ribbon! I love being part of Special Olympics because I get to play fun sports, make new friends and sometimes visit new places. That’s what matters most to me. If I win a medal, good for me! If I don’t, that’s ok, I’ve won an even better prize, just being there playing a sport that I love with my friends!

Age is but a number, you don’t have to grow out of childhood things: I don’t care how old I am! I still love watching VeggieTales and colouring pictures of SpongeBob and his friends and I have a stuffed dragon that I take on adventures!

River Stuffy

Stuffy sitting on a railing with a gorgeous view of Manuel’s River in the background.

My friend Brooke is 21 and has cerebral palsy and is non verbal. Her favourite song is “Five Little Ducks” and she squeals at the top of her lungs and bounces up and down in her wheelchair when someone turns on “Caillou”. Don’t let your childhood go if you don’t want to! Watch cartoons, read picture books, cuddle a stuffed toy! If it makes you happy, don’t be afraid to do it!

Appreciate the little things: My best friend in High School was a girl named Dominique. She was a student in the special needs classroom. The tiniest things would make her bust a gut laughing! Paper ripping, things falling over, she’d even pick up a stack of picture books and purposely drop them and then laugh hysterically! Also she loved to play with raw macaroni. She would dig her hands around in it, scoop it into a cup, then pour it into another and sometimes she’d pretend to cook supper for her teacher. I sat down with her one day and we played with the macaroni together and I felt really happy! It was fun to play with and it felt really nice on my hands. It amazed me how something so small and simple like a tub of raw macaroni could make people so happy! Take time to stop and admire the little things like that.

The meaning of love: For a year and 5 months, I have been in a relationship with a gentleman named Glen who has Down Syndrome. He is the best boyfriend in the world! He’s such a gentleman, he opens doors for me, walks me to my door after every date, compliments me often, etc. He also sends me lots of cute stickers of hearts, Cupid and other love related things on Facebook and texts me just to say he loves me! He calls me to tell me he loves me too. He writes me love songs and sends me recordings of himself singing them. My heart nearly melts every time! Glen is the kind of guy that every girl should be lucky enough to have, a gentleman who tells his girl he loves her, treats her right and spends as much time as he can with her.

Perseverence: Due to my Agenesis of the Corpus Collosum, my fine motor skills are challenged. Because of that, learning to tie my shoes and ride my bike was very hard. Even though they were hard I didn’t give up! I kept trying until I did it! Also, one of my worst subjects at school was world history. I found it very difficult. I failed world history last year and has to go back to high school and do it over again! It wasn’t easy, but with hard work, dedication and lots of help from Peter and Stephanie my wonderful tutors, I did it! I took a supplementary exam in November and got 59%! Passing the exam meant that I also passed world history! I was so proud of myself! I cried happy tears when I got a letter in the mail saying I passed! Never give up, no matter how hard what you’re trying to do is! You can do it if you persevere!

Hug more, hate less: Every single person with special needs I’ve met has a heart of gold and would never hurt anyone! They are completely non judgemental and will be your friend no matter what. They have a smile and a hug for everyone they meet! I wish there were more people like them in the world. We need to accept one another and stop judging people and hating people because of their race, religion or abilities. I think the world needs a group hug!

If the world could just take a minute to listen to us, there are many things that we could teach! Do you know a person with special needs? What has he/she taught you? Tell me in the comments!


2 thoughts on “Lessons from special people

  1. Wow, that was a really incredible blog post. You are so in tune to what’s good for you. You know what makes you happy and how to appreciate it. Those characteristics are lost to so many; indeed so many that have so much. You have an amazing ability to see the ‘little things’ as incredibly beautiful and important. You are highly sensitive to those around you. I don’t know anyone who knows the favourite song of a person who cannot even speak… but YOU DO! You are inspiring. I hope this blog finds itself on millions of screens around the world because more people need to read this. Bravo!

  2. Leah, this was such a wonderful and uplifting blog. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your outlook on things in life – I can’t wait to read more. Have a great day!

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