Yesterday evening, when doing my usual surf through the innumerable posts on Twitter, I spotted one which posed a question that made me think.
‘Where are the pictures of your family? Should you have photos of your disabled children in the office?’
What a question!
Why could that even be an issue? Of course you should. It’s very simple, all children should be celebrated, disabled and non disabled alike. Without exception.
Most people like to display pictures of their children, their partners, their loved ones on their desks or as use those pictures as ‘wall paper’ on their workplace computer so that everyone can see them. It’s normal. Even if you are a very private sort of person, it’s usual to have one or two pictures of your family on your desk, on your computer, in your handbag or in your wallet. And, if you work in an environment where everyone else is proudly displaying pictures of their families, what are you saying if your colleagues know you have a family of your own and they never get to see photographic evidence when it is something that is part of your workplace’s culture. How many parents don’t have one of those awkward school photos somewhere. How many parents don’t show off the holiday pictures of their children splashing in the waves to their friends? How many grandparents don’t have pictures of gummy, grinning babies lying, kicking and laughing on fluffy blankets or shaggy rugs they can boast about? Don’t all children need to know they are loved and that their families are proud of them?
If we have a disabled child or grandchild in the family, what are we saying to them if we don’t have any of those pictures around. Why are we trying to hide them away. What is the message we are giving them?
Are we implying that there is some sort of ‘problem’?
Are we saying that we feel ashamed?
Are we telling people that there’s something we don’t want our friends and colleagues to know about?
Children bring so much joy and happiness into every parent or grandparent’s life, whoever that child is. There should be no difference in now we all feel about disabled and non-disabled children alike. Every child is worth celebrating and adoring. In this technological age where we all have digital cameras, smart phones, laptops and tablets there is nothing to stop us capturing every significant moment and showing it off to the world. Whether child is disabled or not there will always be something to show. So why not do it. Why not let the world see how you feel about everything those amazing children do by having pictures of them on your desks, your walls, your shelves, your computers. Have pictures everywhere.
Don’t try to denigrate disability by hiding your disabled children away. Hold your head, and your pictures, up high and celebrate the joy and pride you feel in their lives, however long or short, easy or difficult those lives might be. Show your love and pride for all your children and grandchildren to the world so that everyone knows how you feel and, especially, make sure that those children know how you feel and how much you love them.
Don’t denigrate, celebrate.