A former physical education teacher in my home town, John Passarini, once told me: “No child is disabled. They are all just differently abled.” That was his philosophy during his many years teaching generations of kids in our town and now teaching teachers how to coach and teach.
I thought about John and his motto a couple years back while watching ABC’s Extreme Make Over Home Edition. The team was remodeling a home for a family born with a genetic disorder. Their old home was limiting for the child’s needs and didn’t allow a moment of peace for the parents who desperately wanted to allow this child, as well as their other two children, to reach whatever potential was with in each of their abilities.
Fast forward to the new home. Spacious. Filled with doors wide enough for wheel chairs and equipment to aid mobility. The home had stairs for those who could use them as well as an elevator. Each of the kids rooms had just what was needed. And, the home had a play room that also was a therapy room. You should click through the pictures to get an idea and also here the father’s own words:
At the end of the show, though, after seeing the house, with tears in his eyes, he echoed what John said to me many years ago. He said that he doesn’t feel that children, even children with major issues, are really disabled. He feels they all have something to offer and the key is recognizing that and not being held back by what they can’t do but by trying to see past that and looking at what the child can do. In other words, seeing that every child is abled…just in different ways. A good reminder for all of us.