27 June 2018


So what is the difference between disabled and Differently-Abled?

Some would say that it is the genteel way of describing disabled but I believe that regardless of our limitations, we are all – Abled in many other ways.

As mentioned in one of my previous articles, “Differently-abled, it could happen to You within seconds,” you trip over something totally inconspicuous and end up with a broken wrist or some part of your body that cannot function for a few months or even days for that matter but which puts you in a position where you have to rely on someone else or a family member to take care of you.

From being totally able, you are now Differently-Abled, perhaps undignified and feel very helpless and frustrated.  There is the family to be taken care of, who is going to do the cooking, plan and cook the meals, the washing is there to be hung up? you have always done everything around the house and now you are stuck.  You are not even sure how you are going to wash and dry yourself …

You have to adjust very quickly so just what can you do? You are not totally disabled just “Differently-Abled” – you are able to function in a limited way but which way? The family are totally spoiled, you allowed that because you love them and enjoy cooking for them, but now they have to adjust just as quickly and you will find that they are not as helpless as you thought they were – delegate!

A broken limb will mend but it is the children and other grown-ups who have disabilities who can actually teach us how to cope, they love generously, without bounds and have learnt to maximise their “Differently-abled” abilities.  Many of them were born not quite “whole” but they are no different to us, they love, get hurt, have talents way beyond what we give them credit for as they are considered a bit alien and we do not quite know how to go about meeting up with them – they do not have problems integrating with us, we are ones that need to adjust.

Children who are a bit “different” teach us humility, how to love without bounds, are wise beyond their years, many of the world’s geniuses are and were disabled, take Stephen Hawking for instance.  Am sure that many of the most well-known and admired figures of our time are disabled or “Differently-Abled” and we do not even know it we just admire, respect and in many cases adore them, anyway.

When next you stand at a check-out counter look, really see those before and to either side you.  Have you thought that maybe, just maybe, they are the ones who have to “do” for a friend, a family member or are, themselves not quite whole? The lady in front of you looks so bedraggled, is quite skinny and her hands are continually  busy, perhaps she is the only one in her family who can still function and is trying to get all her chores done in a hurry.

Do not judge too quickly and harshly it could happen to YOU within seconds.   Learn from our children, they are our future, try to be a little more humble in your opinions and do not judge others as by doing so you are the one who is “Different”.

Rita Hardaker/Differently-Abled Awareness Campaign.

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