For many people special needs, disabilities, and illnesses, being treated as if you can’t advocate or speak for yourself can be extremely frustrating. Peri Finkelstein is a teen with muscular dystrophy who says she is often spoken down to, as if she is a child, than a 17-year-old capable of being her own person.
Peri, who is in the National Honors Society, was recently interviewed about the fact that there are stigmas around having special needs–and the fact that many people make false assumptions about her because she’s in a wheelchair. For instance, she mentioned adults speaking to her in “baby voice” as if she can’t understand them.
Yet it’s not so hard to see Peri’s independence shine through on her social media feed. For instance, she recently went to Israel for the first time:
She advocates for disability awareness:
For me, Peri is an inspiration. While that may sound cheesy to use that term, in this case it’s true. It’s easy to let the little things get to you (I’m so guilty of this), and seeing someone persevere and challenge themselves in any way is so helpful when putting your small problems (like that toddler tantrum) into perspective.