3 Reasons I Don’t Mind When Young Children Point and Stare at My Child With Special Needs

3 Reasons I Don’t Mind When Young Children Point and Stare at My Child With Special Needs

I might be making several generations of special needs parents angry by saying this, but it’s true. I don’t mind when young children point and stare at my child with special needs. In fact, I like it! I’m such a rebel, I know. ‘Don’t point’ and ‘don’t stare’ are pretty basic social recommendations for people of all ages. But let me explain my deviant way of thinking by sharing two examples from the happiest place on earth…you guessed it. Disneyland! Example one. I was waiting with Chloe for the rest of our party to get off a ride that Chloe wasn’t able to go on. We were sitting on a bench and a very cute family was sitting next to us. The mom was passing out snacks and planning their next stop when one of her sons, probably 4 or 5 years old, kept looking at Chloe and/or her wheelchair. His mom noticed and told him it was not nice to stare. Then slowly but surely, he wiggled his way closer and, pointing at Chloe’s pink wheelchair, asked me, “Why is she sitting in that?” I smiled a big grin, excited to talk about how we all have differences and planned to encourage him to chat with Chloe because, well, she loves making friends! Before I got a single word out, his mom went in to panic mode. I’m sure she was thinking, ‘Oh no. He was staring, now he’s pointing and asking questions. He is breaking social protocol. What an embarrassment!’ She grabbed him and angrily told him how it is not nice to point, stare, and annoy strangers....
Be welcoming of special needs.

Be welcoming of special needs.

A little while ago I posted about my experience in church. Dylan wasn’t terribly quiet and I had a choices, stop going for fear of what other people thought, go but take her out, or go, forget what everyone else thought, and make it work. You can read my post here. The truth is, women in church are leaving in droves because they don’t feel like there is a place for them and their children. This is a problem. An amazing special needs mother and friend of mine, Jodi, posted her thoughts on what people can do to make these moms feel welcome. She is LDS but her lesson applies to every religion. This is what she said. I am having more and more of my friends that are parents children with special needs that are deciding to take a break from their church services. The reason? They feel unaccepted. These friends are from the same religion as me, and from different religions. It seems to be happening everywhere. We have always been blessed to be in wards that have been so supportive of my boys. When I hear these HORRIBLE experiences from my friends, I want to help them fight for the rights of their children, and I want to hold on to them, and tell them not to let others decide if they go to church or not… But then I can see exactly where they are. I know from personal experience that advocating for you child can be overwhelming and sometimes you just have no more to give. Again, my experience has been in different areas,...
“I sat alone today”

“I sat alone today”

A lot of First Day’s are happening all over the country over the next four weeks and I have already started hearing the stories. The “I had a rough first day”s. The “no one talked to me”s. The “I sat alone at lunch”es. As a mom, hearing these stories are heart-breaking! As a special needs parent – it’s even worse. If children are excluding typical children like this, what are they doing with our special needs kids? We have done what we can, introduced them in the classroom, and then sent them off, alone, in the hopes that they won’t be alone very long. With our special needs children they often don’t understand how to respond to other kids, and don’t know how to fit in. Socially, children with autism just don’t get the social cues. Never mind those like my Dylan who developmentally just don’t understand. And, for even typical children, fitting in can be so hard, worse when you think you are different or you are shy. Please explain to your kids that we are all different, some differences are just more noticeable. Whether it be something physical or just an inability to respond appropriately or know what to say. Encourage them to look beyond what they first see. Introduce themselves, ask those sitting alone to come play with the group. Or even encourage your child to leave the group to go sit with them. Teach them to not be embarrassed to say hi to a child who may not hear, react or respond to them. I loved walking into Dylan school last year and seeing kids...