June 26, 2013

Dealing with Disabilities & A Giveaway!

This post was originally a guest post but since it's a topic dear to my heart I'm posting it on my blog too. To make it even more interesting, I'm offering you the chance to win any of my books. Just tell me about your own experiences regarding disabilities.
This giveaway will run from today to Thursday 27th till midnight. I'll pick a winner on Friday and announce it here on my blog. Please be sure to leave me an e-mail address!
Dealing with Disabilities
Disabilities—that's the theme in Attachment Strings. How do different people deal with disabled people, in this case, especially with disabled children? It's a touchy subject, no doubt about it. Opinions vary greatly and emotions can rise quickly.
I'm a special education teacher and I love my job. I love working with children with disabilities, I have no problem accepting children who outwardly might look strange or can't communicate the way we're used to. Neither do I think a nurse should be the one changing diapers or feeding the children who can't eat on their own. But even in my profession I've encountered many people who, for example, didn't want to touch certain kids because they were always wet in the chest area because they can't close their mouths properly.
When I started studying for my teacher's degree it always irked me when other people asked me why I wanted to spend the rest of my life with deformed creatures. Or they claimed they couldn't do this work because seeing those children would make them either sick or sad.
Honestly? I was—still am—at a loss when I talk to someone with those prejudices. Even some of the parents make no secret of their dislike of their own children. Not all parents of course, most of them are devoted to their kids, but the ones that talked about how much their child is a burden and how their life didn't go the way they had planned, worries me.
Taking care of a child with disabilities, especially if they are multiple and severe, is hard work and I always understand why parents are sometimes at their wits end.. Most parents will take offered help even when they didn't want it initially. Often all the hopes they had during the pregnancy or after the birth of their child are destroyed and everything falls apart. It's a normal reaction but I'm glad that most parents will love their children no matter what.
In Attachment Strings, detective Jeff Woods and his partner Parker Trenkins, meet a whole variety of people. Their talks and encounters force them to re-evaluate their own opinions and prejudices. For Jeff it's particularly difficult because he falls in love with Alex Fisher, who is the caretaker of his disabled brother. Will he be able to overcome his prejudices or will his tentative relationship with Alex crumble before it really starts? Find out in:



32 comments:

  1. My experience with disability is personal - I have MS. I'm still functional, but have fatigue and mobility issues. Since I look "normal" and don't talk about my MS, people assume I can do all a healthy person can and castigate me when I say I'm not able to perform perfectly. However, I can empathize with parents of disabled children, as my life did not turn out how I expected either.

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    1. P.S. Here's my email: skadlec1@yahoo.com.

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    2. Susan,

      thank you for participating and telling us about your difficulties.

      Chris

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  2. My experience with desable people is.....hmm...I don't really them any differently than everybody else. I grew up around them because my mom works at a day center for them since I was like 7 or 8 years old maybe younger and she still works there.

    Deborah H
    Deborahhansen52@yahoo.com

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    1. Deborah,

      thank you for stopping by and for telling us about your own experience.

      Chris

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  3. I worked with adults and children with a wide range of developmental disabilities for over 15 years. I definitely encountered some of the prejudices that you mentioned. Many people cannot see past the disability. When I used to tell people what I did for a living, the typical response was to tell me what a special person I must be and how they pitied "those" people. And while I knew that the work was not for everyone, I never thought of myself as special. I may have felt pity from time to time but it usually had to do with a particular situation not the disability.

    As you said, caring for people with disabilities is hard work. I definitely had days when I asked myself why I was doing it. Many days the work was dirty, tiring and frustrating. The stress could be tremendous. And I certainly wasn't doing it because they paid me big bucks. But when everything was said and done, I loved what I did. I met some amazing families/individuals and was able to impact some lives in significant ways.

    So whenever I get into a discussion with someone about people with disabilities (or any group of people who they see as different in some way), I try to get them to focus on seeing the people not the disabilities.

    Lynette (sabrinasmadrina@gmail.com)

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    1. Lynette,

      your experiences sound very much like my own. It still baffles me how skewed people's perceptions can be and some of the prejudices leave me speechless. Despite all that I'm still loving my job. :)

      Thank you for participating!

      Chris

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  4. Disabled people have to face the prejudices and stigma of the public. I saw this when I worked at a huge mental health clinic in Los Angeles--lots of preconceived notions about the limitations of disabled people, based on stereotypes rather than fact.
    Urb
    brendurbanist@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Brenda,

      thanks a lot for stopping by and letting us know about your experiences.

      Chris

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  5. I used to do volunteer driving for a local foundation that involved collecting people from their homes and either taking back to the centre or out to an event (now all done by paid employees). These were mainly physically disabled elderly people but it was always interesting to see others reactions - good, bad and indifferent. I always think that its a fine line between full health and needing help, so give while you can!

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    1. Suze,

      thanks a lot for stopping by and telling us about your experiences.

      In case you win I'd need an e-mail addy from you!

      Chris

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  6. We adopted child with disabilities. She was a lower left leg amputee, now an upper left leg amputee. We were told we would be her only limiting factor and so we exposed her to as much as we could However, the rest of the world did not always have our notion. In 8th grade someone refused to room with her because she took her leg off at night. Another boy kept calling her peg leg. She handled that on when she told the boy she would take her peg leg off and beat him with it if he did not stop. She still struggles with both her leg and her sexuality but we are there for her and she will do amazingly well.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

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    1. Debby,

      thank you very much for sharing your experience with your adopted daughter with us. I wish you all the best for the future!

      Chris

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  7. Thanks for the very interesting post. I am constantly amazed by the strength shown by the disabled people I know. They are so courageous and have such a strong will to succeed.

    gisu29(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by and found the post interesting.

      Chris

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  8. Thank you for sharin with us the feelings and thoughts on disability. I haven't had much interaction with a disabled person but whenever I see someone with a disability I can't help but feel respect for them for living their lives as normally as possible and not letting discrimination tear them down.

    humhumbum at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi H.B.,

      thanks a lot for stopping by and sharing your own thoughts.

      Chris

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  9. I haven't had much interaction with disabled people, but I have much respect for them. Thanks for the giveaway and everybody sharing their stories.

    Cynthia
    schan26.wisc@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you very much for stopping by, Cynthia.

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  10. I guess my experience is a little different. I have spinal problems and difficulty with mobility but do not consider myself disabled. Unfortunately, there are times when it seems like I'm the only one who feels that way. Overcoming obstacles is hard enough and people who try to label and treat me as disabled make it a thousand times worse.

    Andrea
    andreanow1999 at yahoo.com

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    1. Andrea,

      I understand where you're coming from and how frustrating it must be at times.

      Thanks a lot for participating and sharing your own experiences.

      Chris

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  11. I don't want to judge other people's actions when I haven't walked in their shoes. All I know is that when I encounter anyone with a disability, of course I note it, but in the same way I'd see a person's dress or their hair color or their smile, as something that's part of them. I don't pity them or condescend to them, and I'm certainly not scared or disgusted by them. We are all people to be respected, so that's what I do: make eye contact, smile, and interact with that PERSON, as I do with everyone.

    Thanks for bringing up this topic, Chris, and for having the giveaway as well.

    Carolyn
    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

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    1. That's pretty much my approach too. I strongly believe that everyone should be respected for the person they are.

      Thanks a lot for participating, Carolyn.

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  12. This subject is dear to my heart because I was diagnosed with JRA when I was 5. It affects every joint in my body and also my heart, liver, and spleen. I remember a time when I couldn't even bend down to put on socks or get up from the floor, and I was unable to play with other children for fear of me hurting myself worse. I was basically bed-ridden and no matter how hard I told my body to move it just wouldn't. It was difficult being a child with arthritis because not many people know how to treat it. I remember having a teacher call me a liar to my face and to the whole class because she said that children couldn't get arthritis and that I should stop striving for attention. I'm doing much better now and it's all because of the love and support my mother gave me and her don't give up attitude.

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    1. Amy,

      I'm so sorry you had to deal with such an ignorant teacher. I don't get that attitude at all (although I also know teachers who always seem to think children do something because they want attention). I'm very glad you have your mother's support.

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      Chris

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  13. Also my email is amygoober@yahoo.com

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  14. I think it was college before I really knew anyone with a disability well. Someone in my freshman seminar was blind (some sort of electronic transcription machine helped him take notes); he sang in choir, and I believe he also joined the crew team the following year. I also had a friend in drama class with fairly profound hearing loss, and my junior-year RA's girlfriend was wheelchair-bound. It all seemed fairly matter-of-fact, though I'd imagine they had a lot of logistical issues to think about sometimes (some dorms were older than others, and possibly not as ADA-compliant).

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing your experiences!

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  15. I adored this story and read it in one sitting. I have a daughter with Asperger's, so the subject hit pretty close to home. Thanks for the beautiful story.

    lcgracewrites(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I'm very happy you enjoyed the story!

      We're in the same boat--I have a daughter with Asperger's too.

      Chris

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  16. Don't have a lot of experience with it, but thanks for sharing

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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