I didn’t want special treatment, just access to know where to get help when required…
I can’t tell you a definitive time when I fully embraced my disability, I grew up with negative connotations of my ability, self imposed limitations resulted in thoughts such as “well, I’ll never be a brain surgeon with this” (together with persistent emotional “hassle” shall we call it, in school) but over time those subconscious limitations seem to relax & diminish some what, as opportunities are carved, not given to you on a plate but you learn to seize every one of them and build upon it. I questioned early intentions – were those opportunities presented because of my disability (to give me a chance) or because my disability has taught me to search in a different way?
I didn’t want “special treatment”, I think it’s more a case of better access to the opportunity. Access to the understanding of the sort help that could be available if it’s needed. That is a game changer for me.
Another example is the reason I now have the confidence to ask a chef if they wouldn’t mind cutting my steak for me at a restaurant, example. For years, in my head, it was a big thing, but since I’ve started asking not one restaurant has thought the request unusual and happy to help.
I am full of gratitude for every offer of help I have received through my life and my belief is that, more than ever in adulthood it’s because of character and now more than ever, I’m certainly unashamed to ask for help if I’ve needed.
A challenge has been to ensure that the opportunity of an equal platform is available and achievable and that in itself may require further creativity more time to think, more planning but I’m encouraged that it’s becoming the set standard (with more work to continue) as part of the path for everyone to be considered not just a last minute accommodation.