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Developmental Disability Does Not Mean Dis-able to…

Disabilities > > Developmental Disability Does Not Mean Dis-able to…

In fact, developmental disability means tapping into powers that are hidden behind the block. Developmental disability means having additional gifts that “normal” learners and thinkers do not necessarily have. Or, at the very least, developmental disability means turning that unusual wiring of the brain into unusually profound tools that make those of us with a DD into exceptional people.

The negative psychological impact of having a developmental disability is profound—profound enough to see us into sudden disillusionment or immediate denial, to wrap us ensnared in a web of self-pity and self-punishment, or going back and forth between “Why me?” and “If only I had…” and “I should be more…” attitudes of self-reproach. Or we can be understandably angry, frustrated, confused, and depressed. Or, we can go in and out of the many variations of all of the above.

But of all who suffer a developmental disability, of all who will give in to the pain and depression, many more take their power back, re-channel that power into the typical gifts that are paradoxically inherent in people with such challenges, and turn that power into not only self-empowerment but often into empowerment of others.

So as great as are the negatives, greater are the positives: we can respond with powerful actions (after the reactions have stopped working), the same way we have seen hundreds of famous people respond—by making optimum use of the “side effects” of developmental disability. The examples of these superstars--with the same disabilities you and I have--are many:

The best known examples are found in Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, and Walt Disney, men who had learning disabilities that clearly did not stop but drove them to changing the world in one extreme way or another.

Thomas Edison couldn’t read until he was twelve, but what did he do? He invented 1,093 necessities for humankind—such as the phonograph (now known to us in the form of the CD player), the film (movie) projector, and the light bulb. The one with the developmental disability gave us light bulbs. Imagine that struggle.

Alexander Graham Bell also had a developmental disability, again also known as an LD, or learning disability. While working on inventing airplanes that would stay in flight longer than a few minutes (wanting a kite that would carry a human was his goal here), Bell also invented one of the first pieces of communication technology, the one that started this whole computer thing, even—he designed the first ever working telephone.

Moving into the 21st century, we can identify with other well-knowns who share their developmental disabilities to entertain us: Cher, Whoopie Goldberg, and Tom Cruise have Dyslexia; Magic Johnson, Bill Cosby, Mohammed Ali, and Stephen Spielberg, along with many other great comedians, sports stars, and filmic geniuses have learning disability that we wouldn’t ever consider to be disabling, now would we? The better question might be concerning one person we all are affected most positively by at this very minute: would you say the learning disability of Bill Gates has had more of a negative or positive impact on him, on us, on the universe?

Disabilities > > Developmental Disability Does Not Mean Dis-able to…