Future president asks, “Why do you need to know how I move?”

Future president (age 9) and her dad

Future president with her dad

Remember the 9-year-old who wrote a post here for Valentine’s Day about how much she loves her Dad? I met that guest blogger years ago when I was being treated for a rotator cuff injury. This girl was only 2 years old then, but she remembers visiting the clinic once when I was there and petting Hanni, my Seeing Eye dog. “She was soft!”

Years later I was flipping the radio dial and happen to come across a young girl talking with her aunt for a StoryCorps interview titled Future president doesn’t want to be defined by her disability. It was that same girl. The one I’d met at the clinic.

I emailed the StoryCorps star to let her know how much I enjoyed her interview, and that led to a visit to her public school to give a presentation there with my Seeing Eye dog. I approached her about writing a guest post for us in February and was delighted when she said yes.

After she sent the finished piece my way, I emailed her to let her know I’d be writing a short introduction for it. “Remind me –do you use a walker? A wheelchair?” I asked. “Without being able to see you, I don’t know.”

And here’s where that 9-year-old became the teacher. She wrote back with a question. “Why do you need to know about how I move? Because this is a Valentine’s Day post and it’s supposed to be about my relationship with my Dad.”

Good question, Madame President. I told her I needed to know how she gets around because the place I work –Easter Seals — is an organization that helps people who have disabilities. “So the posts are all about people who have disabilities, or legislation that involves people who have disabilities, or services or treatments that help people who have disabilities.” I told her I would totally understand it if she didn’t want me to mention anything about her disability in my introduction. “But if I don’t mention disability, it won’t really make as much sense to have it on the Easter Seals national blog.”

She thought long and hard about all this, and we worked on the introduction together. In the end, the introduction to her February post described her as an attractive 9-year-old who plays piano, writes stories, and loves to bake. “She has a physical disability that doesn’t stop her from doing anything she wants to do,” the intro says, and that’s absolutely correct! I was happy with the outcome, and even happier to learn a lesson in advocacy from a 9-year-old.


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