10 things having a learning disability doesn’t change

People with learning disabilities have significant challenges in life; I am not one to minimize those. And there are ways we are different from neurotypical people and I don’t want to minimize those, either. But it’s easy to lose sight of the many things that having an LD doesn’t change. Here are some:

  1. We’re human. As humans, we have and deserve the same rights as other humans. These rights may be those declared by the government in the country we live in, or they may be universal rights. But denying rights to us simply because we are LD is immoral.
  2. We can communicate. Some LDs make certain types of communication harder. None make it impossible. Indeed, almost no human condition makes communication impossible (some very profound disabilities may make it very difficult indeed). Not only can we say things, we can hear them and read them. If you are talking about us, we hear you.
  3. We are not our conditions. Just as you can be described by many adjectives, but defined by none, so can we.
  4. We can love.
  5. We can be loved.  Most parents of LD kids know this. Some people have more trouble thinking about it in terms of romantic love; and there are even some people who can’t love people who have disabilities. Poor them.
  6. We can be amused.
  7. We can not be amused (just like Queen Victoria!)
  8. We can be fun to be around.
  9. We can be a pain in the *** to be around.
  10. In sum, I’ll go with Shakespeare:

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means,
warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer
as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us,
do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

Just substitute “LD person” for Jew”.

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