**This entry has less to do with Kaitlyn, or a particular experience we had with her recently than it does with what people are capable of when they do not let anything get in their way.**
If you have not been following Olympic coverage that closely, you may have missed out on the fact that track and field started over the weekend. If you have watched any of the track coverage, it is safe to say that you either saw or heard about Usain Bolt’s race; I get it, the glamour wins out every time, and he is extremely fast.
But the inspirational story of the weekend, and possibly of the London Olympics, in my opinion, is South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius (click here for more on him). If you do not know anything about Pistorius, you should know this: he was fast enough in the 400 meter race to make it to the Olympics. And he is a double amputee. Both of his legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.
Oscar Pistorius is inspiring to me, and I would love to teach Kaitlyn about him. Yes, their obstacles are completely different, but still somewhat the same. I am confident that for a lot of his life, people outside of his family have been telling him he cannot do one thing or another (I heard the announcers last night saying how his mom would make him go out and play with his siblings and do exactly what they were doing, up to and including climbing trees).
Does the stroy of Oscar Pistorius make me think that everyone, no matter their disability, can make it to the Olympics? Nope. His story serves as a way to inspire people to never stop trying to be the best that they can be.
For example, if Amber and I let Kaitlyn use Asperger’s as a crutch for anything, we are only hindering her. Instead, if we make her use Asperger’s as a stepping stone for greater things, we are doing her justice. When Kaitlyn puts her mind to something, she can accomplish almost anything, and we learn that almost daily. Just this past Friday, she told me that she was ready to start swim lessons early, before our friend Caroline can start with her. It took a while before she was able to focus on what I was saying to her, but by the time we got out of the pool Friday night, she was happy with her progress, and so was I. Her “BFF” from school came over Saturday afternoon, and there was no way that Kaitlyn was wearing her floaties at all; all she did was take to the water like she had been taking lessons for years. Jump off the side into the pool? No problem. Let dad launch her into the air? No problem. Swim under water (“dolphin-kick,” since this started out as talking about the Olympics)? Easy as pie.
Our society is confused by people with disabilities. The belief tends to be that people with any type of disability have to be handled like they are very fraglie and will break. From my experience, that is not the case at all. It is actually completely the opposite. Maybe you were not fortunate enough to see Oscar Pistorius run this weekend in the Olympics, and you really missed out. If you did see him, and were not inspired by both his ability and spirit, I think you may have missed the point of the Olympics.
His story will serve as a teaching moment in our house. When Kaitlyn says that something is too hard, or that she cannot do something, I will teach her about Oscar Pistorius, and help her understand that she can do anything if she actually tries, instead of searching for an excuse or way out.