This is me and my little brother, Eric. Spoiler alert* This is not what we look like now.* Although, he was a little ahead of the trend of people sticking their tongues out in photos (I don’t understand why this came about!) Anyways, I’m Emily. I’m 22 years old, living in Long Beach, CA. I just recently finished up my degree from Long Beach State and am currently searching for where I belong in this world…oh and employment. I am only 12 months and 10 days older then my brother. He lives at my parent’s home with my younger sister in San Diego County. Moving away from Eric was a really hard thing to do. Most of you grow up and leave your childhood homes and when your siblings miss you they can instantly shoot you a text, send you an email, post on your wall, or even read what’s happening in your life through your blog posts.
But not Eric. Eric doesn’t have expressive language. By that I mean, he cannot verbally communicate. He has a very limited vocabulary. Most speech pathologists and educators dismissed him from an early age saying “He will never talk.” And this is where this blog comes in. It wasn’t until I was old enough to understand what it means to live in a society where labels direct the public to segregate, constrict, and confine the human mind to form attitudes and opinions based on a word; did I come to realize how screwed up that sentence really is. Eric was never taught basic communication skills, not because he didn’t want to learn how to communicate, but because other people told him he couldn’t. The people who were supposed to be advocating for him, were doing the exact opposite of their job descriptions.
If there is one thing I have learned growing up with Eric, it is that he possesses traits that none of us could ever imagine being blessed with. He has never told a lie. He has never been in a fight with his siblings, his parents, teachers, or friends. All those judgements we make about ourselves and our bodies, Eric doesn’t worry about those.
My dad came up to visit me last night and we were discussing other people’s reactions to Eric’s dependency on our family. He was saying that all of these things he does for Eric like get him up every morning, put on his clothes, put on his shoes, make him breakfast, drive him to the bus– are all so second nature. He takes comfort in the fact that he doesn’t have to worry about his son going out to parties and driving drunk, doing drugs, getting into trouble at school, or hanging out with the wrong crowd.
Eric has taught me about the core elements of being human–about the universal human need for love and for other’s support in reaching our goals.
So this is how this blog begins. I hope you will follow along with an open mind and learn that the term disability is really just a label. I want to show you how to look at disabilities in terms of abilities and celebrate the beauty of differences in our world.
Thanks for being here with me.