I had a mentally disabled sister, Bethany who died when she was only eight. I was seven years old at the time, my brother was nine. Back then it was called retarded. Then the world wanted to be politically correct and it became mentally handicapped. Now I think we are at mentally disabled but I could be wrong. Let me know if I am not up to p.c. par. Bethany could not speak, she could only sign a little but she was always laughing. She was just learning to walk a bit before she died. She didn’t have pain receptors so she would break bones due to her osteoporosis but thankfully could not feel it. Bethany was triple jointed or something so she could Houdini out of practically anything. My parents built a netting over her crib so she couldn’t get out in the middle of the night and hurt herself. The netting did not work by the way. One night my dad was watching us and she got out of her crib, out the window and was all the way out to the street before we knew she had woken up from her nap. ha ha. It sounds scary for parents to hear that but we lived on a very small street surrounded by corn fields. There was nowhere she could go. Actually, that sounds even scarier getting lost in corn fields. I am blessed to have had Bethany as my sister for even a short while. It wasn’t a struggle to love her, she was amazing and completely hilarious! Her smile was infectious and everything was a fun game. You just work your way around communication differences to find a way to play. That’s what kids do. You just find your own way to talk to each other. Of course there were lots of trips to the hospital, doctor visits and everyday tasks were made more difficult but it was worth it. She was worth it. She made us better people, and at the time a better family.
You are probably wondering what this has to do with today’s change… Perspective. Well, there is an awesome television show called Alphas(2010). If you haven’t seen it, you should. David Strathairn is in it and who doesn’t love him. The answer is no one. The show is about superheroes and let’s be honest it’s been done before and it’s not riveting or anything. However, the show is also about human evolution. One of the main characters, Gary Bell has autism. While his super power is doubtful (watch to find out) there is an underlying theme that should not be missed. The show develops into a wonderful eye opener that honestly I hadn’t thought about before nor like since I was a kid. In the real world “mentally disabled” people are merely people we cannot communicate with in the way we are used to. They speak in their own language and we don’t take the time to learn it. I hope that you watch it and see what I mean. While it may not be the best show that has ever been made it most certainly has a new storyline and new perspective that everyone could use these days.