I am not the parent of a special needs child. I do not have a close family member who has special needs. I did not grow up around special needs children. I feel that the only people who write about special needs children are those who have them. I understand this for various reasons, one of which is the fact that you don’t know the triumphs and struggles of having a special needs child until you’ve had one yourself or are close to one.
The thing is, I’m a mother. I have taught my daughter that each child is just as special as the next, special needs or not. That we are all to treat each other fairly. Of course, she’s five, this is a work in progress. However, I always marvel at how accepting my child is and I always wonder why adults can’t be the same. Have you ever stood in line at the store and watched a child throw a tantrum right in the middle of everyone, screaming his/her head off? Have you noticed all of the stares? The whispers? The “psshaa if that was my kid…” comments? I’m sure you have, and maybe you’ve done these things yourself. I always watch the parent. The distressed look on their face, the embarrassment. We don’t know what their story is, why the child is acting that way, and how long of a day that mother/father has had. How about the child with down’s syndrome, as loving and caring as he/she is, being pointed at by other children and stared at by their parents? Is this what we’re allowing? Our children to point and say things that are hurtful, just because someone is different? These parents should never, ever be embarrassed or feel like their child is different than mine.
These people don’t need your pity, they don’t even need your friendship. They need our understanding and sometimes our patience as a society. My child can speak to, play with, and interact with whoever the hell she damn well pleases. Whether he/she has blonde hair, brown hair, autism, a missing tooth, whatever the case may be. I have tried my hardest to open her eyes and let her see past all of the bullshit, to really see what that person has to offer in a friendship.
Let’s look at the other side of this. I knew a woman who had a child with autism and she pulled the pity card constantly. I am compassionate and understand how hard it can be; but if you cripple your child and constantly raise this idea that there is something wrong with them, they’re doomed to believe it. We are supposed to lift our children up, not hand them the crutch. We are supposed to have faith in them and believe that they can beat all of the odds. Making these disabilities an excuse is hardly what a special needs child requires. Like any other child they require love, a strong support system and inspiration. I pointed this out to her and was met with a quick “YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND, YOUR CHILD IS NORMAL”. Normal? Normal? My kid slurps ranch off of chicken nuggets, hate pets, dislikes wearing pants, and understands nearly three languages. I’m not sure what this lady’s warped definition of normal was, but my kid isn’t it.
And there it was, my reason to cut this person off. Not only did she act like there was something severely wrong with her child, but she was also a bad influence for mine. I don’t care who you are, you are not allowed to call the shots with my kid. You are not allowed to tell me who she can and cannot interact with or tell her that she needs to “be careful” because he’s fragile. No. They are children. They will play and she will learn to be resilient around other children, and mine will learn to be accommodating when she did have tantrums. And they would be the best of friends. But no. Victoria missed out on a wonderful soul because said friend’s mother is a shithead with a narrow mind.
People are people. Let children be children.
If you’re one of those parents who empowers their children, GO YOU!!!