Your Beautiful Disability

Kimberly Rodriguez Special Needs

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“What is that?”

One student asks another student staring at the equipment worn around his head. The student looks at me as if begging me to answer for him. Inside I’m wondering, how does he feel being asked this? Did he think no one could noticed it? Will this be the first time he’s asked about it directly?

Instead I look back at the 3 year old child, and say, “Tell him what it is.”

I feel bad forcing this child to tackle this, what seems simple, but all too difficult for a 3 year old. He is put in a position where he has to explain his disability. Does he even fully understand it yet? Regardless I know that I am doing the right thing in allowing him the opportunity to describe a part of him–a part that will be there his whole life.

He looks at his peer and says, “It’s my BAHA.” His BAHA is a bone anchored hearing aid worn with a soft-band around his head.

The other child has a follow-up question, “What does it do?”

This time the child did not look at me for any assistance and simply answered, “it helps me hear.” The other child responded with a smile and said, “Oh, I like it! It looks cool!”

This is beauty.

Living in a society where bullying has become such a prevalent issue, it is beautiful to see that these young children do not see anything as being “wrong” with a person. They see their equipment and disability as a part of the person, enhancing their character, making then who they are and making them beautiful.

I work in a class where about half of the kids are children with special needs and the other half are not. Every day I have the privilege of walking into a room where there are so many differences and they are all embraced.

This is beauty.

Throughout the year my students notice each other's differences more and more. This allows each child to see that everyone is different and needs different things to help them be their own personal best. My children with or without disabilities feel more comfortable expressing certain needs to help them in different situations. In our class we learn fair does not always mean equal – what works  for one child may not work for another, and there may be a specific activity or time where one child requires more attention. At 3 years old they are all able to understand these concepts that we tend to forget as adults.

This is beauty.

If the world could learn to see others through a child’s eyes they would, in fact, notice the differences, and see them as things that strengthen each individual. Children will teach us that we are all different and it is just cooler that way.


About the Author

Kimberly Rodriguez

I am a preschool teacher living in NYC. I love to laugh, sing, and explore my wonderful city!

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October 2015 – Beauty
Our partner this month is simply – Changing the Face of Beauty
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