Jason's View

The Voice – I'm a Person, Not a Disability

09 Apr 2014

Sometimes when you tell people that you have a non-verbal learning disability, you get what I like to refer to as “The Voice.”

This can apply to several disabilities. Someone who is blind may have someone who talks slow and loud to them. As though hearing language this way will make them “see” the words.  For me, people who use “The Voice” tend to talk to me a little bit different then everyone else. The biggest difference is that they tend to talk to me more like you would to a child. I honestly believe people do not even realize they are doing that as we are not always aware of our tone. It is hard for me to hear someone talking to me different than most people because it makes me feel like I am different. 

Not too long ago, I was opening for someone who had a physical disability at a high school. Once I told him I was on the autism spectrum, it seemed he talked to me differently than everyone else. I was also the youngest person there, other than the students, but he talked to me in a voice that many use when talking to a kid. When he spoke to others with physical disabilities, his talked to them as though they were like everyone else. But when he addressed me, he used “The Voice.” Then, he would go right back to a normal tone once he was done speaking with me.

It made me feel like less of a person and that some disabilities are more socially acceptable.  and understood the capacity the people with them have while others as looked downed upon as being kid like or juvenile.

Other experiences I have can make me feel the same way. Once I got asked by someone who was the head of a disability agency, if I shook hands. It made me feel like he looked at me more from my diagnosis than getting to know me as a person.

I just want people to stop judging the cover of me before reading the book of who I am.

I realize I’m not the only one who comes across these situations.

I think it is time to learn just because you are different, have some troubles, or whatever does not mean you need to be defined by one label. That we all have things we struggle with but more importantly things that we are good at and enjoy.

At Jason’s Connection, we want to help spread this message by telling other’s stories. But we need our readers to get involved. Here’s what you can do. Join the I’m a Person, Not a Disability campaign!

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