Meg Casey
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"Most Able Disabled"

Meg Casey's handicapped issues column

Christmas gifts for the handicapped

Meg Casey
November 16, 1983

Hello Meg,

I would like to start out by saying that I enjoy reading your column very much. I certainly was a wonderful idea of someone's to direct the public interest toward the needs, wants and desires of the handicapped. You have taught me personally that these are not necessarily the same things. You have opened many pairs of eyes wide to the realities of some of life’s situations. What we see before us is not always as simple or complex as it might appear to be.

What I would like to ask you deals with a fun issue, shopping! In specific, I am trying to think of the perfect gift to give a young friend of mine for Christmas and thought that you would be the perfect one to help me out.

I have known this young lady all of my life as her mother and I have been the best of friends since our own childhood. I have watched a baby grow into a lovely person with so many special qualities about her that getting the perfect gift is imperative to me. I also want to tell you that my uncertainty is based on my own handicap rather than hers. I have found that I am suddenly timid about choosing a gift for a 16-year old! The fear of seeming an old fuddy-dud is handicapping my ability. I would hate to choose something too young or too boring. After all I am still young enough to remember how disdainfully I used to look upon my own aunt’s Christmas presents because they were always plain cotton underwear and socks, every year!

I don’t know if it will affect your advice or not but this friend has cerebral palsy and walk with the aid of a cane. She is a fairly quiet girl and she attends the public high school in her hometown where she always makes the honor roll.

Thank you for taking the time for my problem too.

Sincerely, Santa

Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa,

Aren’t you rushing the season a bit? Holy-moly we haven't eaten our Thanksgiving turkey yet! Yike, Christmas!

As for taking time for your problem is what I'm here for and it is my pleasure to do so.

As for choosing a gift for 16-year old girl, well I'll have to ponder that awhile.

A 16-year old female is at the frustrating age of being neither a little girl nor a woman and possibly feels under-appreciated, under-estimated and misunderstood. Three things that don't necessarily pertain to the same issue in their young lives either! Every woman I know was just like that at 16 to be an adult. Actually what I think we were desiring was the respect an individual deserves which only adults seem to receive.

Perfume, jewelry pr pretty adornments for her hair are lovely gifts at any age. Whenever I personally give a gift I choose something that I would like to be getting for myself. I find it very difficult to pick things other than in my own "tastes." (Besides if the receiver doesn't like my gift perhaps I'll give to myself!) A pocketbook for everyday or dress one an evening style; belts and accessories for versatility in her wardrobe; silk scarves or ties; wool scarves and hats; leather gloves; sweaters. …

How about a gift of entertainment? Do you know her taste in music? Buy albums or cassette tapes; concert tickets; gift certificate to the movies (can be gotten at any box office); gift certificate to a restaurant for brunch, lunch or dinner with you alone.

I would set my mind to thinking of "a not quite legal age young adult" and you won't go wrong this year Santa.

This article was transcribed using one of the accesabilty features built into Apple computers.

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photographs and other content courtesy of the Casey family unless noted
blog posts and art by Meg Casey
originally published 1982 to 1985 in the Milford Citizen newspaper
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