Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How do you treat a person with a disability?

Someone left a comment on another special needs blog that she didn't know how to feel about or how to respond to the parent of a special needs child. Here's my response:

The above comment reminds me of a PSA from the '80s that said, "How do you treat a person with a disability? Like a person."

How do you treat the parent of a person with a disability? Like a parent, who's presumably doing the best he or she can. If they're obviously struggling, ask if there's some way you can assist. To those who say outsiders are not looking down on these parents, well, many aren't, but enough are to keep us on constant high alert whenever we take our children in public. If you doubt that, search "smockity frocks" AND  "autism". She has since apologized, but there are millions more like her. We can never get away from them entirely. Imagine living in fear that someone would call the police and report you for child abuse every time your child ran a fever. Well, the neighbors have called the police on us because our son was having a meltdown, and meltdowns are far more common here than fevers.

How do you treat the parent of a child with a disability? Like a person.



Blogger Big Daddy Autism said...

Well said. On a related note, when someone (usually well meaning) tells me, "I don't think I could do what you do. I couldn't raise a special needs kid." I tell them, "You could and you would. You have no choice."

November 2, 2010 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Yes. You don't get that choice ahead of time, and once you find out, what can you do? Stop loving your child?

November 2, 2010 at 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi, had a little cry reading this post. my little boy is only two and really since he was born I have had people staring, commenting and generally "coming to conclusions" about me and my son. it is also part of the culture here in italy that the older generation feel that they have a right to comment and that somehow children belong to everyone. he has been diagnosed PDD and we are just at the beginning of our journey. blogs like yours help. a lot. I hope mine will help parents especially here in europe where awareness and acceptance of autism is still pretty nonexistent.

November 5, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

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