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By Layla Guse Salah, Disability Today Network Blogger

I am only speaking from my own perspective. With that, in no particular order…

10. The effort that goes into the simplest things: How long does it take able-bodied people to get themselves out the door in the morning? Way less time than it takes me, I know that much. I need at least an hour to get up, get dressed and get myself out the door, and that’s pushing it. If I want to eat, I need longer. If it’s winter, add another half an hour to the whole routine, at least. I never let it show, but I’m pretty damn tired before my day even starts. My dad asked me once why I don’t have my attendants come and help me in the morning to save time – my answer is very simple: I don’t actually need them to. If I needed help getting out of bed that would be one thing, but I don’t. It is much more liberating to give myself the time I need to get my day started.

9. Carpets are evil: I have spastic cerebral palsy and it doesn’t just affect my legs. I have a titanium manual wheelchair that weighs fifteen pounds. It’s top of the line. I don’t have it because I’m obsessed with being on the cutting edge; I have it because it is the only manual wheelchair that I have the strength to propel and control. Only indoors and only if there is NO carpet. If I’m in my powerchair it doesn’t mat- ter but I dare you – try apartment hunting with one of your stipulations being that you cannot have carpet (if I must, I can live with a carpeted bedroom, but that’s all). It seems so simple, right? I promise, it isn’t.

8. Extreme weather of any kind is a nightmare: For most people, extreme weather is an inconve- nience. I have a powerchair, which costs more than a car. Want to know what the top warning is, with any powerchair? Don’t get it wet. Insane, right? I have to avoid being out in the rain, or when it’s snowing,

if I can. Thunderstorms are a differ- ent kind of torture, not just because they scare the bejesus out of me anyway. Power wheelchair, plus light- ening strikes everywhere… you do the math. And the winter! Don’t get me started. And no, snow tires for powerchairs are not a thing. I have a weather app on my iPhone that I check constantly.

7. Winters wreak havoc: My cerebral palsy causes circulation problems. It’s not enough that I have spastic muscles, but the blood vessels in my feet had to get in on the action. The spasms in the blood vessels of my feet mean that once my feet get cold, and as they warm up, they swell and cause severe neurological itching/pain. I am Canadian.

6. Most of my friends are abled-bodied and I prefer it that way: I have friends with disabilities too, and I love them just as dear- ly. But I enjoy having able-bodied friends because a) we’re all people; there is no thick red line separating me from the rest of the world, and b) I am lucky to be light and petit. I’m lucky that my cerebral palsy does not cause fragility. Having able-bodied friends opens so many doors for me; my friends give me exponentially more freedom than I would have on my own, or what I would experience if I were only friends with other people with disabilities. They can carry me and literally take me so many places I would never get to experience if I didn’t have them. They do what they need to in order to make sure that I’m included and feel valued and loved and they do it happily.

5. There’s a reason I’m preoccu- pied with bathrooms: Using the bathroom everywhere you go is an


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