Thanks to the example of Joni Eareckson Tada I knew that God could do great things through people with disabilities, but for the first 20 years of my life I wanted little to do with disability. Despite my need for a power wheelchair, limited fine motor skills and significant visual impairment, I wanted to lead a "normal" life as far away from disability as possible.
We can look forward to Jesus returning and the glory of the Lord being revealed when the playing field is leveled for the oppressed. Then all people will have equal opportunity to serve God and enjoy the abundant life that He offers. Removing a barrier is not just about helping someone else to enjoy full participation: it is about demonstrating how God loves all people and wants everyone to live life to the fullest.
On the Road to Emmaus, Jesus’ strategy is to walk alongside the followers for a long while, allowing them to tell their whole story. Similarly, matching the pace of someone else and demonstrating that we are truly listening, even though it may be hard to relate is a way to show that they are valued.
On the Joni and Friends Web Site I listened to an MP3 by Will and Arlyn Kantz and they really understand our needs. Our family can relate to almost every behavioral situation they spoke about, the challenges families face and even the fears of future challenges like puberty, programming, the workers, the sensory issues, congregational reactions, etc.