Trick or Treat: What To Do When Disability Comes Knocking

Children wearing fancy dress
Children wearing fancy dress. Sing Images/Digital Vision/ Getty Images

The custom of dressing up in costumes and putting on masks for Halloween began in the middle ages when people went door knocking looking for treats in return for a prayer.

These days, the tradition is for kids to put on disguises and go door-knocking in groups asking for either a trick or a treat. This is often rewarded by the person giving some form of candy.

But what if the trick that comes knocking at your door this year is not so sweet?

What if you are facing the prospect of having a disability and can’t see any treats in sight?

It’s like your own personal Halloween.

People can feel cheated, where a terrible trick of fate has come knocking on their door and they are stuck with misfortune. They may even put on a masquerade and parade around in disguise, not letting on that they are losing their sight for example.

Surprise – here is the trick AND treat of the matter.

The trick is staying positive when feeling challenged.

The treat is saying yes to the unexpected benefits of low vision.

It’s true, there are sweet rewards but let’s look at how to get rid of the bitter taste of disability first.

Losing your eyesight can feel like you are at the initial stage of losing everything you value in life just when you might be planning your future or contribute more to your family and community. Please be reassured this is not true.

When I began to lose my eyesight at seventeen for instance, it was natural that I feared losing so many other aspects of my life that I treasured.

Becoming an artist and failing to see color was one of them. But the hardest thing to grasp was knowing how to turn the sour truth of going blind into a sweet treat for my future.

The Trick is Letting Go

What I learned was that losing our vision can feel at times like we are living in a world of contradictions: one day, things seem fine and sweet, the next, a nasty trick of doubt and uncertainty threatens to prevent our progress.

Over time, as my sight has faded to blindness in one eye and extreme low vision in the other, what has helped the most is knowing blindness is a word and not a sentence

What I mean by this is that once you can accept your limitations, you also become highly attuned to recognizing your strengths. One of these is having the ability to keep your vision set on identifying the rewards life brings. No matter where you might be on your journey with low vision, there really are benefits you can gain.

The Treat Is Tasting Life as Sweet Again.

So this Halloween, let’s have fun and see ways you can say goodbye to the trick of a disability and welcome its treats instead!

Treat 1: You are Raised to VIP status

Revel in the fact that as a Visually-Impaired Person you can use your new ‘VIP’ status to your advantage: ask to be taken to the front of a queue, wait for the offer of a seat when there are none, delegate an unwelcome  chore to someone else. The list goes on…

Treat 2: You are the Perfect Partner in any Relationship

Let go of any doubt – people LOVE to be around you!

Sighted people relax when you are in their company because you won’t tell them they are not color-coordinated or ask what was that look for or why they are having a bad hair day.

Treat 3: Friends Envy Your Ability to Save

Our cars guzzle up fuel as well as our hard-earned cash but not having a car means you are going greener than green – you’re saving a heap of money too!

Treat 4: You become a Hero by Being Yourself

As you develop new skills in getting around independently with low vision, or go about your daily life at home in very normal ways, family and friends  admire your courage and tenacity. People at work or those who observe your boldness to retain a normal life admire you too. Enjoy their admiration – you truly deserve it.

Treat 5: You are Never Blamed for Anything

Surely this is the sweetest treat of them all. See how others don’t blame you when you accidentally knock over a glass, walk on wet cement, send something flying off the table or even make them fall over. In fact, you won’t get blamed for any mishaps you may have caused unknowingly.

So when a disability comes knocking next time, are you going to say Trick or Treat!

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