What’s the point of personal stories?

A couple of weeks ago I asked the question whether posting my story online is useful to my readers or just mere entertainment. I asked it for a couple of reasons, not least being that I had seen another blogger do something similar and I thought it would be a really interesting exercise. I was curious to see what my readers are taking away with them and if the reality of their experience differs greatly from my expectation. I was particularly interested in inviting readers from outside the disability world to contribute and see if my story has an impact on those with little to no experience of Down syndrome.

I already suspected that publishing personal stories does have a positive impact on the people who read them (or else I wouldn’t publish mine!) but it was interesting to read why from other people’s perspective. I was thrilled to receive comments from a wide range of perspectives. You can read the comments at the bottom of the post here. https://embracingwade.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/is-my-story-just-a-story-or-is-it-useful/

A common thread that came through the responses was about finding stories that speak to us. A personal story can move us in a way that facts and figures just can’t.
We can read all the stats we like about improved quality of life and health outcomes for people with Down syndrome or how encouraging meaningful work options makes good economic sense for everyone but nothing gets a message across like reading about the reality of a situation through the eyes of someone who is living it. No matter how different our lives may feel, reading a personal story can make us find common ground we didn’t think existed but it can also help rationalise overwhelming thoughts when we read about others walking the same path as us. Continue reading

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