dis•a•bil•i•ty: isn’t what defines a person

Anyone living with the challenge of a disability in life does not make or define a person.  Jennifer Kuhns, award winning author, painter and poet, understands and has lived through misconceptions attached to being physically disabled. Her primary reason and goal for writing her first book, “Were You Born In That Chair?” published 2010, was to give children an unbiased look at what a disability is and to aid in changing the view of disabilities. One might say, “Were You Born In That Chair?” is an odd title for a children’s book, but the original idea for the story came from a personal experience Jennifer was confronted with during her first day as a mainstreamed student in a “regular” kindergarten class. She had attended a special education preschool for three years previously, where having a disability was not an oddity. Disabilities were a part of life.  She was exposed to both physically and mentally disabled children, some of whom were deaf, blind, autistic, and epileptic, missing or had deformed limbs, Down’s syndrome, and those with cerebral palsy such as herself.  Many years later she grew to understand through her exposure to the variety of disabilities during that time, that it gave her an inclusive view of people, a view many children do not have an opportunity to explore.