The Lighter Side of Disability
Guest Post by Peggy Parsons Sands
(Bridgewater, MA)—An estimated 2.5 million Americans live with intellectual disabilities, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That’s a staggering statistic. But is the subject as serious as it seems?
“Not always!” says Peggy Parsons Sands, author of the new book “A Cup of Joe: A Sister’s Adventures With a Special Brother.” “Of course living with a disability can be difficult, and we must give credit to those who do. But beyond their physical or mental limitations, they are just like everyone else. They have their good days and bad days, and above all they love to laugh. If you can’t see the humor even in a tough situation, things are going to be harder for you in the long run.”
“A Cup of Joe” is a collection of short stories, anecdotes, and recollections about the life of Joe Parsons, who was born with brain damage that caused his lifelong disability. From childhood pranks like opening the town drawbridge and trying to “borrow” a fire truck to his efforts to live an independent life as an adult, Joe’s story will resonate with readers from all walks of life.
According to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities:
• About one in ten families in the US has a member with an intellectual disability.
• More than 600,000 children between ages three and twenty-one need special education in school.
• Only thirty-one percent of adults with developmental disabilities are employed.
• In up to fifty percent of cases, the causes of intellectual disability remains unknown.
“My brother Joe was just one of the kids in our family,” says Ms. Sands. “We never thought of him as different, and I hope that by sharing these stories about him with the world, I can help people have a new outlook on those of us who are a little different.”
Peggy Parsons Sands is a retired postal carrier and the author of A Cup of Joe: Sister’s Adventures With a Special Brother. She currently lives in Demorest, Georgia, with Frank, her husband of thirty-four years. They have three children, Melissa, Matthew, and Sarah; a wonderful daughter-in-law, Cathy; and five grandchildren—all boys.