Handicapped people are everywhere. They are unavoidable as well. Due to us being around them so often, one would assume that we would know a lot about them. If one thought this they would be wrong. Our outlook on handicapped people is usually nothing short of pity, as they will never be able to achieve anything great. However, society’s perception is warped. Though people can be handicapped, they can still achieve great things. There are many areas that handicapped people play an active role in. They influence our daily life, and sometimes we do not even notice that they are handicapped.
Some of the areas they play a large role in are politics, the arts, discoveries and education, protecting their country, sports, and in the media. With proper support from family, friends and the media, they can achieve great things as well. There are many celebrities who are disabled, that we are not aware of, and by keeping their disabilities secret; they were able to achieve great things with a positive outlook from society. There are and were many people who play a large role in politics,, even though they were handicapped.
Some US presidents have had handicaps, yet this did not stop them from leading their country towards a better life for their people. George Washington had a learning disability that prevented him from writing properly and having good grammar. This could have stopped him from being the US president, or from fighting for the US’s independence. Franklin D. Roosevelt had polio, yet he “secured the first peacetime military draft in American history, the Selective Service Act of 1940. ”(pg. 753, A History of the American people). Not only did he make a difference in the United States but his name has not been forgotten.
In the arts, disabled people are known as legends. They consist of people who went against the odds and fought for their dreams. Such people include Francsico de Goya, who got a disease that made him deaf, when he was 46 years old. He was still able to create the most famous Spanish art of the 19th century. In music, one of the most well-known is Ludwig van Beethoven. When he turned 28, he started to become deaf, and his life became much harder. Though he was faced with an unfortunate situation, Beethoven continued composing piano sonatas in his later life.
He is now known as the greatest German composer. Another example is John Milton, who became blind at 43 years old. Not discouraged, he still continued to write his most famous epic Paradise Lost. Another remarkable figure is Sudha Chandran, who dances beautifully even though she has a Jaipur foot. This is due to the effort they put in to accomplishing their dreams, not due to whether or not they were handicapped. If they were not handicapped they would not be who they were. Therefore, they might not have accomplished these things or have been as famous as they were.
Not only do handicapped people influence the arts and politics, but they also influence education and technology. An example would be Albert Einstein, who had a learning disability, and could not speak until he was three years old. Even though he had a late start to education he was still the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Taking after Einstein’s example is Stephen Hawkings who is now nearly paralyzed. Not giving up, he is the greatest scientist of the 20th century after Einstein. Without these two people, education would not be as advanced as it is today.
Though not suffering from the same disability, Thomas Edison could not read until he was twelve years old, yet he is still remembered as a brilliant scientist. During his time, people must have thought he could not achieve anything above average. He proved them wrong by holding a world record for the amount of patents held. Some of which created the bases of technology today. An example of this would be the light bulb. His character refused him to give up, and though he had a late start; his knowledge was far beyond the ordinary. He proved the last flower to blossom, is usually the most beautiful.
“Helen Keller was blind, deaf, and mute.” By refusing to accept her handicap, she shocked the world, by speaking when there was no one to even teach her. Helen did this by feeling her teachers’ throat as she talked. By doing this she could feel and eventually learn the vibrations. She would then copy these vibrations in her own throat, and she would eventually start to speak. Being the first to learn to speak without hearing herself, Helen set an example for the world. She showed them that though she was deaf and blind it did not mean she had to be mute as well. These people show us that we will never know what someone is capable of.
We need to give them the chance to show us what they can do. Being disabled does not mean that you cannot protect your country. Lord Nelson is Britain’s greatest naval hero. When at war, a French soldiers’ shot threw debris into his face; blinding Lord Nelson in his right eye. He also amputated his right arm because he shattered his elbow later on at war. Not backing down he carried on fighting bravely ten years after he became disabled. Though there are many examples of disabled people who are athletes, two stand out among them all. Marla Runyan and Tanni Grey-Thompson are perfect examples of athletes.
Marla Runyan is legally blind. She set many track and field records at the Paralympics in Atlanta, Georgia. This shows that there is no reason why you shouldn’t still aim high even though your handicap might inconvenience you in the sport that you play. One of the world’s favorite past times is watching TV. Another, much more diverse than the first, is listening to music. We sometimes forget how much of an influence handicapped people have had, and still do have on our media. Handicaps usually only affect a certain area of the body, and our Hollywood stars have proved that it won’t affect their talent.
Driven by their own ambitions, they have been able to grab the success, that some only dreaming of reaching. The first example that comes to mind is the music icon, Cher. Singer, record producer, songwriter, author, and actress; the world might never recover from her wave off talent. She is also dyslexic; making reading and other educational areas harder for her yet it certainly did not handicap her voice. Many knew she would do well in the industry, yet no one could have predicted that she would land “an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award and three Golden Globe Awards.”
( http://www.goodreads. com/author/show/150577. Cher) She knew being dyslexic would not be the end for her. She made it to the top of the music industry, a place where handicapped or not people struggle to reach, but rarely do. Actors such as Christopher Reeve and Tom Cruise are loved by many, and supported by even more. Tom Cruise is dyslexic, yet he still was able to become an actor, and accomplish his dreams. Known as the character Batman, Christopher Reeve was crippled after a horse riding activity. Though stopping him from acting, he still plays a very active role in helping those who might in his situation.
He chose to help other disabled people, rather than be stagnant in life due to his disability. Though being a great actor, the work he is doing now with rising awareness about disabilities, is greater than any movie could have accomplished. Disabled people influencing so many aspects of our lives, prove that they are like us. We all have hope and dreams, and can achieve great things. We strive to accomplish goals that might even seem impossible, and because of this we can achieve great things, individually or together. Why should we think handicapped people are any different?