I have worked with people with disabilities for almost 12 years, and I have observed many ways in which people with disabilities are treated by others. I have seen children and adults make fun of these people, ignore them or just be plain rude. Yes, adults can be just as rude as children. I have seen people in the medical field treat a person with disabilities with very little respect, and with no patience at all
I once had a client who faithfully attended a local church for ten years. When this man died and the church was contacted to make funeral arrangements, the Priest had no idea who he was. Ten years with this church,and on one had taken the time to reach out to this man, or even to find out his name. To me, that is very sad.
Several years ago, one of my co-workers and I took one of our clients out for lunch at McDonalds. This young man had cerebral palsy, and needed much assistance when walking. And although he was very loud, and often had a wild look in his eyes he could easily scare anyone, child or adult. The day at McDonalds, I was greatly touched by the kind act of a young child. This child couldn't have been more than 4 or 5 years old. He held the door open for this young man. If he had been my child, my heart would have swelled with pride at his terrific act of kindness. People don't often take into account that although these people have special needs, they also have the same needs as everyone else, and they deserve the same things.
Several years ago I was asked by the grandmother of one of my clients why God allowed people to be born with a disability. My answer to her was this. God has a purpose in life for everyone. And He has a special purpose for those who are handicapped. While we may teach them every day tasks that we take for granted, they teach us love, compassion, patience, kindness and understanding.
Yes, we all have a special purpose in life. But a person with a disability has the greatest purpose of all. So the next time you see a person with a disability, take a few minutes to shake his hand, or even to just smile and say hello. It will make you feel good, and it will make his day brighter.