As promised, here’s guest post #2 by DJ Mermaid. In our hour together this past week she and I discussed some of the positive comments you left to her post last week. She isn’t quite ready to respond online to the comments you leave here, but trust me, she does read – and reread – them, so keep ‘em coming. Her guest post this week gives you a glimpse, ahem, of what a role model she is for me when it comes to self-advocacy.
by DJ Mermaid
Humans are very kind and helpful, even when you do not want it (although it is nice to have help “sometimes”). I have a physical disability and I get a “Do you want my hand, sweetie?” a lot.
I have cerebral palsy (CP) and I move a little different than anybody else does. Here are my tips on how to decline help when not needed:
- In public always do things with your head up high and with a confident air to them. (That makes people know you are a PERSON!) It also may reassure people that you do not need help.
- Say no politely when people ask you if you need help when you don’t need it.
- If people just grab your hand or another part of your body physically without asking first, say NO quite loudly!
I have had a few experiences that I want to share with you so that you can get in my shoes — or fin, as I should say.
I was in Schaumburg, enjoying dinner at Bonefish Grill with my grandparents. (If you go I recommend Bang Bang shrimp). We were walking down the sidewalk when out of the deep blue sea this weirdo woman extended her hand and expected me to TAKE IT! (I was doing quite fine on my own if you ask me.) Of course, like I should have done I ignored her hand and said to her, “No thank you!”
Thankfully I survived that, but sadly human nature struck again at school when I had a substitute teacher’s assistant one morning. My amazing mom and I ascended the stairs leading into the school facility when an aide walked out and put forth her hand to take me into the building. I brushed by her and said, “No thank you!”
Just before I went in, my mother hugged me and said, “The first thing this woman wanted to do was grab your hand. Make sure you educate her today.” DUH. I know, mom.
One person, though, treats me like all the rest. Introducing… my little bother — er, brother that is. He always wants to win games that we play, always wants more dessert and so on. Sadly with him I can’t use CP to my advantage. Although I sometimes despise him, he and I protect and stand up for each other.
At school once I heard some of his classmates making fun of me. Literally the next morning in SCHOOL (!!) my brother and the boys marched up to my desk and somberly apologized. I didn’t even know it, but my brother SCREAMED at those boys and he and his teacher made them apologize.
Well that’s the end of my 2nd post!