Monday, April 25, 2011


Useful. If a thing we have is not useful, it ends up in the trash or the recycle bin. Most people want to feel useful, that they serve a purpose. We want to know that what we do matters, to someone. Without purpose, we founder.

People with disabilities want to feel useful too. They want to serve a purpose, as much as they can. Yet there are a lot of disabled people in the world who are cast aside, because they are not considered useful. Well, they aren't considered useful beyond the arrival of their disability check in the mail, which goes in the pocket of whoever gets to the mailbox first.

There are people with autism left stimming in a back room, hidden away, because their family thinks that they are useless and crazy.

There are people in wheelchairs stuck in a house because their family thinks that they are useless and won't build a ramp.

There are people with cerebral palsy who would love to talk to someone, but their family thinks that they are useless and that they can't possibly have anything to say. So those "loving" family members imitate the disabled person instead.

There are people who drag themselves around on their arms because their family thinks that they are useless and won't spend the money to get a wheelchair; even if the wheelchair is free, sometimes they can't be bothered to take the disabled person to go and get it.

If a disabled person is able to get a job and earn a paycheck, many of them don't have transportation, and their family doesn't believe that they are useful, so why bother? That kid is retarded/autistic/cripple, you often hear. Not worth wasting the gas to drive there.

I don't think that I have to point out who the useless people are in these cases.

I once had a father tell me that he wanted his disabled son to grow up to be a taxpaying citizen. I think that is a fine goal. Everyone can contribute to society in some manner, whether they are disabled or not. It is high time we all recognized this. There are tons of jobs out there--some of them can be done by a person with a disability. Need clothes folded? A person in a wheelchair can do that. Need your entire miniature train collection cataloged and organized? A autistic person could do an excellent job, as long as you're okay with his version of organized. A blind man would make a good listener, useful for hearing flaws in the sound checks that happen before concerts.

This country was built on the premise that all men(and women) have the right to the pursuit of happiness. Disabled people have that right too. They have the right to be taxpaying citizens and we need to give them as much help as we can to get them there. Because that is what makes US useful.


  1. I am with you, EVERYONE is SOMEONE! I think that people with disabilities just look at life differently and for the most part - they look at the simpler things. There is NOTHING wrong with being different!! ~KM


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