Updated: May 7, 2018
Enjoy this preview of Lauren's story! We met Lauren in Providence, Rhode Island, and her full story, along with correlating systematic research and insights, will be in our next book.
"I went to a very traditional, somewhat strict, Catholic school for kindergarten through eighth grade. We never talked about the fact that we only had one black kid in our grade of thirty-five people, and that he always got blamed for everything. And there was always an assumption that I could perform well in class because my mom is Chinese. She was always in contact with my teacher, to check on how I was doing, and she was stereotyped as being a 'tiger mom.' But wouldn’t any mom check on a daughter with a disability? Wouldn’t any mom be worried?
I had been going to tons of physical therapy. I thought that if I just kept working at it, then one day, it would be gone. I never really realized that I had a permanent disability until I was ten or eleven. Once I made that distinction, I began to think about what ability really was. Part of the perception of people with disabilities is that they’re ‘crippled’— that we’re not able to be independent or be productive members of a community. I also had to fight the added stereotype of being a girl and being thought of as so ‘fragile’ all the time.
I don’t mind when my friends ask, 'Lauren, Are you disabled?' I don’t take offense to that because it’s true: I do have disabilities. Just don’t be like, 'Oh. What happened? What’s wrong?' Assuming that something happened to me, but in reality, I was born with it.