to anyone who cares for, works with, or otherwise tries to support a disabled child or children:
please, please find ways to ensure that your disabled kid(s) / the disabled kid(s) in your care have ways to interact with, and learn from, disabled people older than they are who are disabled in the same or similar ways.
i cannot stress the importance of this enough.
no matter how much you may care about a disabled child who is in your life, if you do not navigate through space and time while facing similar ways of being, you are never going to know about those things in the same ways as someone who is living them. it’s important to learn to accept this, to accept that there are going to be things that you are not capable of teaching your child because there are certain things one can only learn by living them.
a sighted person is never going to know all of the very specific things that might help someone use a white cane effectively in the ways that a blind person who uses one every day will, no matter how much training they have.
a non-wheelchair user will never know how the very specific things that helps one to maneuver a wheelchair as someone who uses a wheelchair, even if that non-wheelchair user has been a wheelchair mechanic for decades.
a non-autistic person will never be able to really understand some of the very specific ways of receiving and processing information autistic people have or what it’s like to experience sensory input in ways that are almost entirely misunderstood by most everyone around you, even if that non-autistic person has spent lots of time with autistic people, parented an autistic child, etc.
the point being, if you really care about a disabled child who is in your life, please recognize that you can express that care by helping provide that child with opportunities to learn from people who are like they are. please don’t let your child grown up having been taught about their disability / disabilities by all non-disabled people.
please don’t help perpetuate systems and structures which keep disabled people isolated, and without anyone to whom they can relate.
don’t buy into the idea that the best “therapies” for disabled children come from “highly trained experts” if those same “experts” are non-disabled or, often, even disabled people who aren’t disabled in the same ways as the child or children in question. sure, there may be some non-disabled people who can help a child learn certain kinds of skills, and can support that child in other ways, but that’s not a substitute for that child learning how to be disabled, learning how to move in the world in the ways that they do (or don’t) from people who do (or don’t) move through the world in similar ways.
if you want to do right by a disabled child in your life, help make sure they learn how to be disabled. this is something so few of us get.