An Uncomfortable Challenge

Excerpts of Stories by or About Persons with a Disability

The buzz of the bell announces the start of another recess. Out of the crowd of children flocking to the playground, three make a beeline for their spot – the monkey bars. The trio careens to a halt at the foot of the iron frame. Two of them scramble deftly up the metal latticework, leaving the last girl alone on the ground. They settle themselves on their perch, munching on grapes and granola, and peer down on the lone girl.

“C’mon, come up!”

“Yeah, come eat up here with us!”

Still panting from the mad dash, the girl focuses her gaze on the metal framework. Today, she thinks to herself, maybe. Gingerly she lifts one hand, places it on the metal. The sensation of the contact is piercing, and her hand springs back from the metal as if it had burned her.

Today, like every other day, the touch of metal is unbearable and she can only look up at her friends, who cannot understand why she cannot join them.

“Touch hypersensitivity,” says the therapist kindly, after the girl’s parents explain the situation. “It’s a form of a disability. We’ll do what we can.”

And so begins the first of many days of therapy. On the first day, it seemed impossible to the girl that she could ever touch metal without cringing. As the days pass, session by session, it begins to seem possible. Difficult, but possible.

Finally, it is the day of reckoning. The bell rings, the children run, the trio arrive at the monkey bars.

Still panting from the mad dash, the girl focuses her gaze on the metal framework It’s me and you, monkey bars, she thinks to the metal. Today, I am capable. Gingerly she lifts one hand, places it on the metal. The sensation of the contact pierces through her skin, yet her hand does not spring back. It’s uncomfortable, but bearable.

Today, unlike every other day, she makes her careful way to the top of the bars and sits by her friends. Her grin lights up her entire world.

 

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