Disability Teaching a Lesson?
"What have you learned or become that you might not have without and encounter with disability? Have you become a medical expert, education specialist, behavioral manager, mechanic, efficiency expert, law specialist, problem-solver, activist, interpreter, ambassador, poet? Or something else that I haven't thought of....Has your faith, creativity, determination, efficiency, patience, impatience, techno-savviness, assertiveness, connectedness, sensitivity, sense of humor or some other trait grown or been changed? Any of the above? All of the above? None of the above, but something else entirely??"
That question assumes that disability is something that entered your life at some point, changing your life from previously not involving disability, or not to that degree. As such, it is profoundly inapplicable to someone like me.
What if you never had a life without disability?
It reminds me of this video, in which Amanda Baggs says:
"One of the things you mentioned was that there was an advantage in being disabled from birth in that you're doing all your adjustment as you grow. I'd actually take it farther than that -- being disabled from birth, there is nothing to adjust to."
It is this adjustment from a nondisabled life to a disabled life (and I'm using this to apply to those with disabled loved ones as well) that brings those kind of 'lessons' that are relatively easy to name and describe.
Whereas for me, I know things I would not have known if I was neurotypical, but I can't really name them as things I have 'learned since before disability' because there never was any 'before disability'. I was born the way I am. I may have regressed somewhat at 18 months, but even if that was something I'd have perceived as an unexpected and significant change in me (rather than just growing up or reacting to my circumstances) I can't remember that far back. I didn't have the experience of growing up as a standard person, fitting in with others and our society so fundamentally and identifying with the standard tale' of how people in our society live and what they are like. Instead I grew up with others treating me like I should be or should have been the standard person, but I wasn't.