When I was a baby, I entered a program called Conductive Education. This program is responsible for the allowance of hundreds of children to attend school, you see before its creation, in Hungary there were laws in place which prevented children who couldn’t stand from going to school; and so Conductive education was created, it used equipment already in a mainstream environment; and manipulated it to support children with disabilities allowing them to stand to and in turn have access to the same opportunities as those who are able bodied. It is also was responsible for the creation of tailored programs meeting the needs of those diversely effected by conditions like Cerebral Palsy, which allowed access to education; for those who would’ve otherwise had none.
The adapted ‘equipment’ and techniques became things like learning to pull yourself up onto things, to stand; to get from place to place; it is not just a program to support ability it is rather a way of life, learning to build and find therapeutic opportunities in everything; being disabled you learn early on that no environment is designed for you, stairs are front and centre; the ramp the long way round, the lift only open on the weekends or the steep incline has no warning sign; amongst these environments you must adapt to thrive.
Like Conductive Education, you must do all you can to find your way and build therapy into daily life; fit yourself, into an environment not always designed for you, you must find your ability; which is a hard thing to do when you are tagged with a negative, disabled; no thank you.
I learned to do this, with the same skills conductive education teaches; manipulation. Making things work for you, I plan everything I do before I put it into practice (some might say I am one step ahead but that is probably just ironic) if I am in a room, trying to get from one side to the other or if I am out and trying to get around something, I will use everything around me to my advantage, change its purpose to fit my own, a chair; I don’t need to sit I need to walk so I lean on it, these types of things are therapy; because they make me stronger, I have been able to use everything to fit my needs over the years and through it all I have found my way and got as strong as possible.
It is the same with our morals, morals are subjective so I cannot tell you how to go about yours, but I can tell you something about me, before I got a power assisted chair to help me around school with ease; I used to put the strap of my bag in my mouth so I could push myself; I did what I could to get to class and two years later I achieved distinction in five out of seven of my subjects. I adapted, I thrived if I had not done that, put the strap in my mouth, I wouldn’t have got to class, to learn. My way was different to the methods of those around me; but it allowed me to get where I wanted to go, there is no one way of doing something and there is no one way of looking at something, do not be afraid to see things differently and make things work for you. It may be harder and take longer, but András Peto, saw things differently then his countries government, he saw past social norms and his methods were “conductive” and they allowed children to learn, grow, develop an opportunity vital and one that would’ve been non existence had convention not been challenged.
Sometimes challenging convention allows you to find success, ever since I learned my two legs did not comply with said convention, I had two choices challenge what was normal and accepted and create my own definitions of these words or allow myself to be defined by societies definition of people like me, because in my mind people who ‘defy convention’ with the use of a wheelchair, or with a disability they are not bound, limited or afflicted they are adaptable, trail blazing and amazing; because in a world, not designed for us, we have found our way; you can see past convention if you choose to, do not be afraid of the unknown. At a young age; peer pressure becomes evident and this can shape our morals, but our morals are just that ours.
Maybe its not seen as cool, to want to go to church on Wednesday lunch times or maybe its not what the folks are doing when you decide you want to study instead of party, but if you are following your moral compass; you are doing the right thing. Moral Manipulation is a good thing and a bad thing, just like all great phrases it has two contexts; the first, is manipulating what might not work for you, to find your own way; to see past convention; but the other context is manipulation itself, never let others views of your morals influence your choices; because those peoples views are their own and there will come a day, when people you knew will move on, those who pressured, influenced, changed you; they will leave and you will be left with who you’ve become, will you be happy with that person, if you made choices based on others views.
Moral Manipulation is not just understanding that you do not have to comply with convention it is also the realisation of two things; firstly your morals are your own and to become who you want to be, who you aspire; you must not let peer pressure or outside influence manipulation you and two: Moral Manipulation is the realisation that you cannot change some circumstances. I have been like this for fifteen years, I cannot change it; I can work around it, to challenge the known and fight so what is now outside the realms of convention will one day become normal. Because maybe now, eyebrows might be raised if a woman in a wheelchair is prosecuting in court, but this will not be the case in some years. Watch me.
I have overcome and manipulated obstacles so instead of hindering they help and I did that for my own future, my own morals which have driven me to become the person I wish to be. You can do the same.
Do not be afraid of the unknown