Tuesday, 23 April 2013

T is for .... True Colors

T is for ... True Colors.

Not long ago I spent some time with a lady with down syndrome. She also had mid-late stage dementia. Apparently it is normal for the onset of dementia to start earlier in people with down syndrome, as early as in the 50's. This lady was in about her mid 50's. I never knew her before the dementia developed, but apparently she was very high functioning, and was very independent in her routine. The onset of dementia changed everything. She could no longer work, and she needed constant attention to make sure she was safe. She had also developed scoliosis, which is an abnormal curving of the spine, and this made her unstable and likely to fall easily.
Some days were good days, and others were not so great. Some days she was very jovial and active, and other days she would be more reserved and quiet. Some days she would hug you, and others she would ignore you.
Some days I have good days, and some days I have bad days. Some days I want to be left alone, and some days I may just like some company. Some days I want attention, and other days I'm fine just by myself.
Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, we see a person's disability before we see the person. Sometimes we may even forget that this person has emotions and feelings just like all of us.
Sometimes we may forget that a person's disability is only part of the person.
My disabilities are numerous. I can hardly ride a bike. I can't do maths to save my life. I lack any kind of decision making skills. My sense of direction is non-existent. My short term memory is pretty bad, and remembering people's names doesn't come naturally. Who knows what else.
We all have some kind of disability. Some are more subtle, some are more prominent, but they all exist to some extent.
We are all unique individuals. Our disabilities are part of us, and should not be hidden away, like they are abnormal, like they should be hidden from society.
Showing your 'true colors' is about just this. It's about showing each and every part of you, because each bit makes up you. And it's also about looking beyond a disability, and seeing the rest of the person. It's not about perfect or imperfect, it's about each part making up a unique person. It's about all the bits that make up you and me and everyone else. It's about billions of unique people.


  1. This is brilliant! And it made me stop and think. I have so many disabilities that I don't even know what they all are. But I want to show my True Colors. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. We have a tendency to want to 'fit in' so we try to not show our True Colors. We don't always like being unique and we forget that each and everyone of us are just that,unique, and yet we do 'fit in' because of our humanity. If we could just learn to focus more on our common humanity.
    What a thoughtful post :)

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality