Meet one incredible mother.
Sally Richards is Jackson’s mum. And Jackson has a disability. But she long ago decided that it was not going to stop him living a good life.
Sally brought her message to TEDxCanberra, calling it “Creating A Meaningful Life for Jackson”. Jackson, was born with a “profound intellectual disability.” He cognitive ability is similar to a baby between nine months and 18 months old. There is little that he can do for himself – he cannot comb his hair or put on his own socks.
Sally has dedicated her life (which she says is intertwined with Jackson’s) to defy they nay-sayers and create a good and ordinary life for her boy. The one he deserves as a human with a disability. Not a disabled person.
“26 years ago my third son Jackson was born.”
"He is not a person who is generally welcomed, admired, respected or championed in our society. I call him The Invisible Man because often I go out with him and it is as if he isn't even there. People don't acknowledge him."
"It all depends how you look at things. These (below) are the same people you saw before, only now Jackson seems like the only one who looks like he doesn't have a disability. In his early years, I didn't see any potential in Jackson for a good life. Because ever since he was born I'd been told a single story and I blindly accepted that story as truth. And that story was this: Jackson would forever be a passive observer of time, energy, resources and emotions. He would be a person who sucked up care and would never give anything back. He is a person who should be with his own kind. His own disabled kind not his own human kind. Forgetting he is human first and disabled second."
"I thought he deserved better than that. I have created for him a life of his own, a job of his own and a home of his own. Jackson has a job. He has a permanent part-time job in a courier business that I created for him. He works from 8:30 until midday every weekday morning for 6 years so far. He is not the Invisible Man when he is at work. He is respected and greeted. For those people saying that Jackson doesn't really work because he has so many people helping him with the job. I know politicians with an army of people to support them. I know Executive Directors with EAs who still don't reply to an email I send them."