Six Things To Know About An Interabled Relationship

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Hope Johnson
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In The News
Curated by
Hope Johnson

Shane Burcaw and his girlfriend Hannah Aylward share videos on their YouTube channel (Squirmy and Grubs) featuring their life as an “interabled” couple. Shane was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The couple raises awareness about relationships and disability by sharing their “Six Things To Know About Interabled Relationships.”



“Our goal in sharing our lives with the world is to help normalize interabled relationships, to show people that our love is just as exciting, fulfilling and real as any other.”

They Are A Couple

Shane and Hannah in swimming pool

Hannah and Shane are a couple. Shane says people assume that Hannah is his nurse, mom, sister or even babysitter. “Because of the widespread and deeply-ingrained misconceptions about disability, people tend to see me as a child, or as someone who could not possibly be involved in a romantic relationship,” says Shane.

He gives an example of a misconception when he recounts an instance where the couple was checking out of a liquor store and the cashier asked Hannah: "Does this big guy want a lollipop?"  To that, Shane quipped, "Nope, just the beer. Thank you, sir."

They Are Not Special

Shane feels that his relationship with Hannah is not especially unusual and wants other people to view it that way.  As the popularity of Squirmy and Grubs has grown, viewers have contacted them in similar situations.  He writes, "...people with disabilities are in fact still human, with emotional wants and needs like everyone else!"  Shane does not understand why the world does not see him and Hannah as a couple.

“We hear from interabled couples every day, and the common theme of these messages is simple, yet profound: “Our relationship feels so normal! Why can’t the rest of the world see that?”

Yes, They Argue

Shane states like all couples, he and Hannah argue.  Both have stubborn and passionate personalities, and they have disagreements about the little things.  "I’m slowly learning the important lesson that my girlfriend is always right, no matter what."  Shane writes.

They Can Have Children

Many individuals assume that Hannah and Shane cannot have children.  This is untrue.  Unless Hannah is the carrier of the traits that cause spinal muscular atrophy, their children will not be born with the disease.  If she is a carrier, there's a 50/50 chance.  "Either way, I cannot wait to pull our kids around in a wagon attached to the back of my wheelchair,"' Shane writes. 

They Care For Each Other

Shane says that the fact that Hannah physically cares for him gives them a chance "to connect and discuss (their) days."  Shane states he may not be able to perform physical tasks, but he helps in other ways.  Shane manages finances and calendars, schedules appointments, answers business calls, and emails and adds to the shopping list.

“We both perform equal physical and emotional duties to support each other.”

 They Love To Travel

Shane and Hannah in front of eiffel tower

Both Shane and Hannah love to explore the world, so much that Hannah decided to design a special car seat to make air travel easier for Shane.  Although traveling requires extra preparation, they have cherished every opportunity to do so.  "Both of us have a deep passion for exploring the world, and even though our travel requires some extra planning, we’ve relished every opportunity to visit new places together," Shane writes.  Shane hopes that there will be more of that in their future, among other adventures!

As you can see, Shane's and Hannah's relationship is just as fulfilling as any other.  It shows that love conquers everything and that they are "not so different" after all!

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