Earlier this month, Adam Levine and Maroon 5 had the privilege of meeting their biggest fan. Christopher Warner, 10, is a young Maryland boy with Down’s Syndrome. His meet-and-greet was arranged by a local radio station after Christopher’s elementary school teacher created and shared a YouTube video featuring his devotion to the band.
When the time came for Christopher to meet Levine and the rest of the band, he got very nervous and hid behind his mother. Levine and the band laid down on the floor with Christopher, easing his anxiety and creating a very special and memorable moment for Christopher. This simple move from Levine shows insight and offers an enlightened approach to people with disabilities.
All too often, the biggest reason a person with a disability is not as socially involved in their community is because they fear alienation and rejection from others. Everyone can relate to this feeling of social anxiety; high school and adolescence make everyone familiar with the need to be accepted. The world is a scary place!
For people with disabilities, the fears of an active, social lifestyle can be diminished by empowering themselves. Learning the tools necessary for personal success – whether it is a blind person participating in mobility training, a high school graduate practicing new Independent Living skills, or finding an assistive device to aid them in independent mobility – is essential for each unique individual with disabilities to overcome their disadvantages.
Empower yourself and people in your community to actively listen to everyone’s needs upon meeting them. Take a note from Adam Levine and Maroon 5. The simple act of listening to another human being is all we need to make our communities safer and more enjoyable for everyone.