This morning one of my clients said to me "I don't really want to walk outside because I can't walk like normal people." I am very sensitive to certain words. The word "normal" is one of the words I'm very sensitive to as a healthcare provider and a movement educator. I don't how often I hear this word in medical contexts from clients and other healthcare professionals.
What do people mean by "normal?" When you define something or someone as being normal, you are implying that everything else is "abnormal" whether you mean it or not. "Normal" is a relative term in reference to the norm or average. Someone who is not able to walk because of his/her physical conditions may not ever become "normal" based on the definition of the word. Does that mean those people will never get better? If their perception is such that they define themselves as being "abnormal" maybe they were told so by someone, they may believe that they will never get better. For this reason, I don't tend to use the word "normal" to describe my clients' conditions. Instead, I simply describe their current conditions at the moment and where they could go next day. If you meet your persons where they are at, there is always a potential for improvements for everyone regardless of their conditions. I always try to remind myself that what we say to our clients always influences their perception about belief for better and/or worse so we should never underestimate the power of language and therefore have to choose our words very carefully. Words can hurt or heal people.