New England Disability Awareness Essay Contest Winners- Grade 6

First Place Essay

By: Kathryn O. from Massachusetts

Inspired

Seeing someone that has a disability inspires me to appreciate all of the things that I am capable of doing like throwing a ball, writing and many more things that people that have disabilities cannot do. I think the person who inspired me the most was in the book Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. 11 year old Melody lived her life the way God intended her to do even though she couldn’t walk, talk or move. She could only move her thoughts. Melody was a girl who was very intelligent but nobody noticed it and she could not show it either. I can’t imagine her frustration, like not knowing what it feels like to say I love you to your parents. When you read this book you can actually feel her pain and see how cruel people can be, they stare and laugh at her. Some people don’t take the time to get to know them more. They don’t even realize what they are going through. People need to realize that they cannot treat them like dirt they are real people with real feelings, they are human beings. She would dream about being normal, but I think normal is overrated.

Melody is also a believer. She believes all kids are equal, nobody’s perfect, nobody is always right and nobody’s always wrong. She believes she’s a little different but not that different, she is still a person. She can’t talk or walk but she sure can soar, through her thoughts she goes thinking but not telling. Glowing but not showing. She can also soar through her beliefs but she can’t tell anyone, she can only stay all stuck inside waiting to be free, waiting for someone to be by her side, always.

Seeing people laugh or stare at people that have disabilities makes me so angry. She deserves more respect than she gets. Melody is a girl who wishes she could say something to them but she can’t. She doesn’t know what it feels like to throw a ball or play with her little sister and those people are making fun of her. She deserves more happiness, she deserves as much happiness as she can get. She should be treated fairly.

Imagine not talking your whole entire life, not knowing what it feels like to stand up! How lonely you would be sitting there in a wheelchair watching other kids with their friends running around.

Even though Melody is a character in a book it reflects on someone’s life with a disability. It gave me a better understanding of what it is like to be in their shoes. I will always respect those who have a disability. I will always treat them like human beings.

If I win I will send most of the money to a foundation that supports cerebral palsy (the disease that Melody had) and the rest to the Race for a Cure Cancer walk!!

Second Place Essay

By: Lindsey B. from Rhode Island

My Brother T.J.

My name is Lindsey, and I am in the 6th grade. I have grown up all my life with a brother who has autism. My brother’s name is TJ (Thomas Jacob) and he is 10 years old. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to not have someone with a disability in your life, but without TJ I would not be who I am today. At places I go to, I sometimes see a person who has a disability and I never judge them, and I always try to be kind to them as I would anyone else. Yes, sometimes it is hard to go places with TJ because of his autism, but out of all the people in my life, TJ has inspired me the most.

There are two people in my grade that have a disability and I sometimes see them sitting by themselves at lunch so I invite them to sit with me, and I include them as I would a close friend. I think of people who are excluded with a disability as my brother, and I would never want my brother to be excluded. TJ doesn’t play with many friends so our family are his friends and we include him in everything that we do. TJ plays soccer for the Special Olympics and I love it when I go to his practices and see all the children with disabilities interacting with each other. Sometimes people stare at TJ so I always make it a point to inform them about his special needs.

If TJ did not have special needs he would probably not be as loveable as he is today. Every time I look at a person that is different, I say to myself, “Do not judge until you know their story.” This is what TJ has taught me. I have learned more from TJ than he will ever know, and every time I hear how lucky TJ is to have sisters that love him so much, I realize that we are the lucky ones to have him in our lives. Every year our family does the annual Autism Imagine Walk to support my brother and others like him.

Third Place Essay

By: Katie N. from Massachusetts

Never Give Up on Getting Better

People with disabilities definitely inspire me. Despite their condition, the way they seem happy always and never seem to care as if anything is bad is a sign of a good character that I remind myself to have. My grandpa was disabled. A few years back, he suffered from a stroke that paralyzed his left side of his entire body. He couldn't walk for a while and it was hard for him to stand up straight. His voice became slurred yet he always tried to speak as much as possible. When he eventually passed away last year, I still remember him as someone who never gave up and he tried his best to get well. I think that is how everyone should be—Never giving up from getting better. Even though people with disabilities seem different, we need to accept and honor everyone as we are all unique, from all situations. I am also inspired by all the athletes who compete in Paralympics. They inspire me because even though they are disabled and not able to do the things we can easily do, they give it their best to chase their dreams and move on to make a difference in their lives. Everyone's disability stories are so unique and special. I think it is time to help them and treat them like your best friend.