DOWNEY – I will participate in Saturday’s Arc Walk for Independence because I no longer feel sorry for people with developmental disabilities.
Arc of Southeast Los Angeles County has taught me that anything is possible with hard work and motivation.
A developmental disability is not an excuse to not ride a bike, use a computer, get a job, handle money or volunteer in your community.
A developmental disability does not mean a person cannot be independent and ride the bus to the mall or buy a ticket to watch a movie.
I used to think people with developmental disabilities needed someone to hold their hand. But I’ve learned that sometimes a firm handshake, a slap on the back or even a fist bump is preferred.
I’ve learned that Arc consumers are some of the most loyal sports fans in the world.
I’ve also learned that Arc consumers like to dance but, unlike many of us, they’re not afraid to let go of their inhibitions and enjoy themselves.
Arc has taught me that people with developmental disabilities make some of the best employees a company can hire. They don’t call out sick because they overslept, because it’s raining or simply because it’s Monday.
I’ve learned that I can speak to a person with developmental disabilities without shouting at them. Most of the time, their hearing is just fine.
I have also learned Arc consumers are capable of love, both platonic and romantic.
But most of all, I’ve learned that people with developmental disabilities are just like the rest of us.
All they want is love, acceptance, equality and opportunity.