People affected by disability. Have you ever wondered why we at Luke 14 Exchange use that terminology?
We understand that disability impacts more people than the person who has cerebral palsy, spina bifida, stroke, spinal cord injury, autism, down syndrome, or muscular dystrophy. Every parent, sibling, spouse, grandparent, co-worker, or friend who interacts with that person experiences the effects of disability on some level.
For a parent the effect may be the greatest, requiring them to adapt their home, their schedule, and their focus to help the child benefit from all the therapies, research, and strategies they can find. Sometimes one parent focuses on the person with the disability while the other parent focuses on the typical kids. This can stress family relationships in unexpected ways.
Siblings may find they get less of their parents’ time or energy because their brother or sister needs so much. While this may be hard in the myopic world of a toddler or teen, siblings often become the strongest advocates as they mature. Some even go to work in a related field to give back.
As relationships with the person who has a disability broaden out from the immediate family circle, the effect may lessen but does not completely go away. For example, our nieces and nephews, and now their children, adore their Uncle (my husband, Jerry, who was born with cerebral palsy). They have to think through invitations they extend to us to discern if he can access the location in his wheelchair. Visits with them may have to happen in hotel rooms when we travel to see them, which also influences our travel budget.
You get the idea . . . a disability or a special need is insidious in its reach. That’s why at Luke 14 Exchange we reach out to people who have been born with or acquired a disability, and their family members and friends. Yes, we want to mentor and coach people who have a disability so they can use their talents and gifts within their community. For this to happen effectively, many people with disabilities need a robust support circle.
Luke 14 Exchange wants to support the support circle. We love to listen to your stories, rejoice with you, cry with you, and pray with you. Email Joan@Luke14Exchange.org or call 863-940-3816. Sometimes family members and friends just need the reminder we are not alone.
Once a month, the Luke 14 Exchange blog will address caregivers and friends. What topics would you like to see covered? Would you be willing to share part of your story? You can comment in the section below, email, or call us as mentioned above with your thoughts.
For today, I leave you with a Bible verse that has been speaking to my heart recently. These are Jesus’ words in John 16:33, “I have told you these things,” (referencing his teachings in John chapters 13-16) “so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”