Age of Acceptance

acceptanceAs society evolves, equality, above all else, is a key factor. Topics once not talked about are now coming to the forefront and light is being shone where there once was darkness. In my career in social services I've seen society's view on minorities change, and I've seen acceptance in the communities of developmentally challenged individuals. We have come so far, yet we still have so far to go.

 Within the community of people who stutter, we have been segregated, labeled and put down because of the manner and means in which we speak. As time has passed these attitudes of society are slowly changing.

The stigma of disability needs to be altered to a concept of "ability enhanced." With every hurdle a person faces there lies a type of beauty to be brought to surface. We need not try to change or critique our disability, yet rather focus on embracing it for all its underlying beauty. 

As a person who stutters, when I look at all the ways it has effected me, I'm reminded not so much of the negative aspects  yet how my life has been enhanced because of it.

As a professional, and as a parent of a child that is "ability enhanced", I see stigmas being over turned everyday. Those "things we just don't talk about" are being discussed. People are taking a stand and using their voices. Yet stigmas still exist. The focus needs to be on education to encourage tolerance. As a society we will no longer tolerate ignorance or discrimination.

At the end of the day, it is about the conscious choice of how we choose to approach people's differences. Keeping in mind that each of us are unique, we must allow ourselves to look beyond first impressions. For it is often beyond those first impressions that we see the most beauty.

Richard Lutman is a child and youth worker and developmental service worker who lives in Stratford with his two daughters. He is on the board of the CSA.