The conundrum of need vs. convenience

I still remember writing my first guest post for the Easter Seals blog as an intern. Well, three years later, I’m here to introduce MY intern as a guest blogger! Kelly Zatlin is a senior and public relations major at Dordt College, and she’ll be interning here at Easter Seals headquarters until late April. I love her fresh perspective on disability news.

Assessing accessibility


by Kelly Zatlin

The mom of a daughter who has Spina Bifida keeps a blog about some of the daily challenges and joys of having a child with a disability. A recent post called The Disability Excuse brings up a struggle I haven’t heard parents of children with disabilities talk about before: the difficulties discerning between the want and need for special treatment. While there may be necessary “exceptions” for her child in school and in society, this blogger mom says she has found herself using the disability as an excuse at times and isn’t quite sure what to think about it.

The post describes sitting in multiple parent meetings where parents will insist their child not be treated any different than other children, only to hear them demanding special treatment minutes later. The post author says she herself struggles with what lessons she is teaching her own children when it comes to taking advantage of using the accessible entrance at Disneyland or getting free special needs screenings.

Here at Easter Seals, we strive to give children with disabilities the best and most independent lives possible through use of play, education, therapy, and many other means. Sometimes, the phrase “special treatment” has a bad connotation, but I don’t think it needs to be thought about negatively. I don’t see any reason for a parent to feel guilty for heading to the front of the line at a theme park with their child who is in a wheelchair, but there’s also nothing that says they must.

Many situations like this may just be up to the parent’s discretion and personal beliefs. I can say this, though: I myself sure would never want anyone to feel it’s wrong to take advantage of special access for people with disabilities or other things like it. Promoting accessibility is part of our mission here at Easter Seals. So much in this world seems to be built for people without disabilities, so I think having these extra tools for those with disabilities is just one way that the world can become more accessible for them and their families.

I know it’s important for parents to be careful about contradicting themselves in how they want their children to be treated, but I think it’s also important for parents to be aware of the services out there that are meant to help, not hinder, them.


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