A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Help Me Help You

So it's happened again and I guess maybe I wasn't clear the first time. So I'm here once again on behalf of all parents with a special needs child in their life.
See, we get it. You who live in the world where disability isn't 100 percent of your daily routine, you are not equipped to deal with the situation our children put you in.
Especially if their disability isn't readily VISIBLE.
My children look "normal" - first person to try to correct me and say I'm supposed to say "typical" gets the boot. My blog, my words.
But see here is where we run into a snag. They look like bouncy little six year old boys. But you address them verbally, and we as their parents see your confusion when they don't respond.
Or they do something weird in response. Stick a spoon up their nose. Something.

So we try to help you understand. We say "He's special, he doesn't understand."

And this is where we hit the wall. Because you feel this weird need to get this glazed over "Jesus loves me" look on your face and spout "Well they're ALL special aren't they?"

It would be at this point in the conversation that I'm considering leaping across the table and popping you one with my spoon.

Here is why that's inappropriate.

You are making light of my children's mental disability. I realize that you are uncomfortable and don't know what to say. It's ok. I don't expect you to have a witty come back and there is nothing that you can say to make it better.

Say this. "OH, ok. What can I get you to drink?" or whatever would be appropriate if you are not a waitress.

But saying that is patronizing and makes me want to smack you.

No, they aren't all special in the sense of having a mental disability. But thank you for being rude and acting like this isn't a problem or a concern in my life. Thank you for making light of mental disability. Thank you for now putting me in the position of having to explain that my children are mentally disabled, they are autistic. Thanks for bringing it to the head of the conversation, as though the kid chewing on his own sock wasn't an indication something was wrong.

I really just wanted to eat dinner. Thanks for being a smug, patronizing ass.

The rest of you.

Don't do it. I mean it. The next one of you who does this to us is gonna get it.


Chestnut Rau said...

I know I have done that in the past. Yes, it was because I didn't know what to say and I wanted to show my friend that I value and love her kid despite his issues.

I will never ever say that again. Thank you for pointing out how shitty it is to hear.

erin said...

First off, I want you to know that you are awesome, and that I really needed the laugh you gave me today. Thank you.

I'm at the point in my life where I use a blanket "He's non-verbal" whenever someone gets that confused look regarding my little guy. That still doesn't seem the perfect response though; I wish people would just process all the clues without needing me to lay it out.

Also, yours eats his socks too? My son picks them apart and eats them one string at a time. I cannot begin to express the horror that creates at bathroom time.