Successful in spite of her disability
In recent weeks I’ve been posting about people who are successful in spite of their disabilities. Megan Bomgaars is another of those. Megan stars on A&E’s reality show “Born This Way,” Megan and her fashion line, megology, have partnered with Sanrio for an empowering fashion collection. The Sanrio ♥ megology graphic T-shirt line combines Sanrio characters — like Hello Kitty — with Bomgaars’s inspiring mottos such as “Don’t Limit Me,” “Don’t Forget Your Sparkle,” “I Can and I Will” and “Let Me Dream.”
Bomgaars became a well-known self-advocate for Down syndrome after her video, “Don’t Limit Me,” went viral in 2013. In the video, she asks educators not to limit students with Down syndrome and other disabilities, and to teach and include them with all students, instead. This message needs to be heard by educators around the world.
Young author who writes with his eyes
Consider Jonathan Bryan, 12, another example of a youth who is successful in spite of his disability. Jonathan is from county Wiltshire in South West England. He was born with severe cerebral palsy, a condition that makes him incapable of speech or voluntary movement..He was locked inside his own mind, aware of the outside world but unable to fully communicate with it until he found a way to use his eyes to laboriously choose individual letters, and through this method to make his thoughts known. A few years ago he started speaking with the help of a spelling board, and now he has released his first book, Eye Can Write. In his book Jonathan tells about his intense passion for life, his mischievous sense of fun, his hopes, his fears and what it’s like to be him. This is a powerful book from an incredible young writer whose writing ability defies age or physical disability—a truly inspirational figure.
People with disabilities are still excluded and blamed
Yet in many countries of the world today, people with disabilities are deprived of their rights and liberties, excluded from society, and blamed for many of society’s most unsolvable problems, such as crime and homelessness. People with disabilities, particularly people with mental disabilities, may be involuntarily locked away in institutions, subjected to abuse and neglect, and deprived of their right to live as equal citizens in the community. Governments that perpetuate such mistreatment are rarely subject to international scrutiny or recrimination. Although some international laws that prohibit mistreatment and discrimination against people with disabilities have been adopted, no specific binding international human rights convention exists to protect explicitly the right of people with disabilities to live in the community or to be free from indeterminate institutionalization. However, there is a growing recognition that recent interpretations of United States law as well as international human rights law provide support for the right of an individual with a disability to live and receive any necessary treatment in the community, rather than in an institution.
Including people with disabilities strengthens communities. To learn more go to this online resource for the disability community. And then do what you can to support people all around us who are making there significant contributions in spite of their disabilities.