My Name is Bar
My Name is Bar
Bar is my nephew. When you first meet him, you cannot help but notice his disabilities. He walks with difficulty. His balance is poor. His speech is garbled. He frequently repeats himself. His eyes do not meet yours when he talks to you. And when he gets frustrated, he bits his hand or hits his head against the wall.
Yet, Bar is much more than his physical and intellectual challenges. He likes to laugh. He tells “knock-knock” jokes. He enjoys dancing. He loves to spend time with pretty girls. He hates turnips. He invites everyone he meets to come swimming with him. His memory is astonishing. He can recall the details of family outings that took place years ago. He loves and is loved by his family and friends.
Not long ago, Bar and others with similar disabilities would have been housed in large institutions, segregated from society. In the 1980s, however, state and local governments began to encourage people with intellectual disabilities to reside in their communities. Today, Bar lives in a small group home. People with and without disabilities live together as an extended family, sharing meals, chores and leisure time activities. The rhythm of each day revolves around land work and animal husbandry. Bar contributes by transporting gardening material, compost and soil back and forth in the household wheelbarrow. By any measure, Bar’s life is rich and full.