Don't Put the Dis in your Ability

The incredibly inspirational Lizzie Velasquez shares this guest post on advice for parents of children with disabilities. Read on...

By Lizzie Velasquez | Aug 15, 2016
Lizzie Blog Header

I want you to close your eyes and remember the night before your first day of school.  Summer has come to an end, school supplies are tucked neatly in a brand new backpack, and the butterflies and excitement for a new school year have set in. 

The first time I had those feelings was the night before I started kindergarten. I had everything from my clothes down to the perfect snack in my lunchbox ready to go.  I remember my parents being just as excited as I was.  Little did I know they were beyond nervous for me. Nervous because I was born with a rare syndrome that doesn’t allow me to gain weight.  I didn’t look like all of the other kids.  I was very tiny for my age.  Up until that point, my parents raised me around other kids my age, so that I could have as much of a normal childhood that they could provide.

Fast forward many years, and I’m often asked how I’m able to have a strong sense of self confidence. I credit my answer to that question to my parents. Although they knew there were going to be kids who would tease me and make fun of me, they didn’t instill a sense of fear in me.  Instead they instilled confidence and strength in me. 

Recently I saw a video of a single dad who is deaf and is raising his son who has his full hearing. When the dad was asked a question about how he is able to live a normal life with his son, his response was “I don’t put the dis in my ability.”

If you are a parent or guardian of a child who is living with a disorder, mental illness, or any other condition, I encourage you to nurture a foundation for them that you can water with love, encouragement, and support.

Instead of sending them off to a new school year with doubts or insecurities, send them with as much excitement that you remember having the night before the first day of school. There will be ups and there will be downs. Embrace the downs just as much as you embrace the ups. For the hard times are the times we as individuals realize how strong we really are.