Friday, May 18, 2012

Mental Disorder: Looking At The Ability Versus The Disability

Many times when we encounter problems in our life or when we are not the same as other people, it is easy to feel sad, disempowered and withdrawn.  Similarly, when we encounter a person with a mental disability like autism, dyslexia, or attention deficit disorder, we tend to focus on how they are different from us and how their life must be lacking.  Yet, people with autism, dyslexia or attention deficit disorder have a different way of processing the world and other information.  Many times these different methods of processing leaves the person with a gift.  For example, people with attention deficit disorder have higher levels of creativity and are superb inventor types.  Those having dyslexia have better peripheral perception and excel at visual tasks like art and design.  People with autism can process large amounts of information while retaining many specific details.

When people who are perceived as different or less than us are looked at as having a special gift or as simply doing things in another way, we all benefit.  Each person brings their own unique gift to the world.

Bringing this idea in our own lives can enrich us as well.  It is easy to judge and be critical of things that are different from us.  It is also easy to judge ourselves when we do not have the same things as our friends and family (money, spouses, children, healthy bodies, athletic, spiritual, clever, patience, etc.).  Yet, these different things have upsides.  It may take a little searching and effort but when we find the gift hidden in something we were initially negative about, we get two gifts.  One, we get to experience the gift we found.  Two, we become creative, adaptive and resilient people who can turn things around.

Stay healthy & well,

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