July is Disability Pride Month.
It is a time of deep recognition for those with disabilities that celebrates and embraces their unique capabilities within our communities. Reclaiming visibility, rejecting shame and ableism, and redefining the scope of diversity.
This month is a reminder of an ongoing revolution that not only champions inclusivity but gives us all an opportunity to raise awareness around accessibility for people living with long-lasting disabilities. Did you know that 26% of the United States’ population lives with some form of disability? (CDC, 2020) Over 1 in 4 people. Those numbers continue to rise as research progresses, and thus calls for an immediate call-to-action from all who work in the healthcare industry.
As an essential healthcare provider for children of all capabilities, Cole Health recognizes that our role in aiding this community is a fundamental aspect of human diversity that is essential in creating a better-quality life, and we will continue to be a resource and advocate for sustainable, high-quality care for all.
Many of our team members share unique stories and experiences with our patients and families as they are firsthand witnesses to their life-changing therapy journeys here at Cole. In honor of Disability Pride Month, we’d like to amplify these stories!
We asked our own team members a simple question: What does Disability Pride mean to you? Here’s what they had to say:
To me and my family- we are honored to have an infinite amount of pride in my sister and her disabilities. A now 17-year-old high school senior my sister has made leaps and bound to get to where she is today. My sister, Christie, has a list of diagnoses that impede her daily life such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, auditory processing disorder, OCD, and ASD. From a young age, my sister knew she was different. She lacked social skills and struggled to learn at the same rate as her peers. Fast forward to my now 17-year-old sister who strongly dislikes forms of love and affection through physical touch, finds joy and comfort being alone in her room, and relieves her stress and anxiety independently by what she calls ‘shaking’ (engaging in repetitive motor movements).
She has dreams for herself. In this past year she has looked at college campuses and has decided that she wants to become a vet. She knows the road to following her dreams will be a challenge, perhaps more of a challenge than it will be for her friends; but, she now embraces her disabilities and is ready to conquer every bump in the road that will get in her way. My family has an immense amount of pride in my sister and how far she has come. Christie used to see her ASD diagnosis as something that made her different in a negative way- now my sister has PRIDE in her differences and embraces that she sees the world in a different light….I am overwhelmingly proud to be Christie’s big sister as her disabilities have made her the most incredible, hardworking, and beautiful person I know.
– Kaitlyn McNab, MS, CCC-SLP
Disability does not define who you are or what you can do. It is simply part of a person just like hair color doesn’t give any definitions or limits.”
– Jason Stark, MHA, OT
Everything. As an individual with disabilities and parent of a child with disabilities, disability pride means everything to us. It means changing the stigma of disability as a negative and thrive with our amazing positives in our community. It means advocating for yourself and loved ones, and in hopes of it also paving the path for others…Pride is not being ashamed of your true self and sharing your story as it empowers and opens resources to others.”
– Wendy Maurer, MEd, RBT