Many people with disabilities use assistive devices like wheelchairs, canes, walkers, special software, glasses, hearing-aids, reachers, or other tools to help with day-to-day tasks. These tools are often invaluable to maintain a certain standard of living and productive lifestyle. My particular tools of choice are an electric wheelchair, a good reacher grabber, and my accessible van. When I first started using these tools I was somewhat self conscious of because not everyone else had to use them too. But now I’m starting to realize that while I use these tools to manage my day-to-day lifestyle, all people have their own tools they need to do the same.
Take a calculator, for example. I have seen people whip out calculators for the easiest of calculations. I have seen people struggle over computing the tip on a restaurant bill. Many people need help with these calculations and rely on paper and pencil, or a calculator, to do them. There’s nothing wrong with using these tools, but whereas I need a wheelchair to get around, I don’t need a calculator to compute 15% and for that, I’m thankful.
So if you ever start to get frustrated with all the tools you have to use, think about all the other tools you don’t have to use to live your day-to-day life. Maybe your job doesn’t require a shovel or a pickup truck or a hammer. Maybe you don’t need to consult your address book when you’re sending out a letter because you’ve got a great memory. Maybe you’re a wiz at vocabulary and rarely need a dictionary. Maybe you can put together an engine without a manual or have perfect pitch and don’t need a tuner. Maybe you can throw together a recipe by memory and taste without having to consult Betty Crocker. The list goes on and on.
Be proud of what you can do without needing assistance, especially if you are having difficulty accepting the times you do need it. All people need assistance at some point. It’s not a disability thing, it’s a human thing.