Wednesday, July 27

special needs in public

Recently I was reading my facebook feed & happened upon a question that got the wheels in my head turning. A question to the tune of "what not to say to a parent of special needs child/ren.
The following is what I posted in response to this question, what comes next are my thoughts that came after that particular post was already sent.

There is so much to be said on this subject. I think that being a blind parent of 3 children 1 vision impaired, 2 has an auditory processing disorder, & my 3rd is typical; people are inclined to stare, whisper, or even yell their questions in to my & my husband's faces (he's also vision impaired). I've been blind since age 2 due to cancer tumors in my eyes which were passed from my dad to me & then to my son, & hubby was born with congenital cataracs. People can really be rude but I can tell you as a now grown child with special needs, I would much rather answer a genuine question about my disability than deal with someone screaming "HOW'w'W AAARe YOOOOUUUU" in my face. (when I say in my face, I mean literally 2 inches from my face) I think the other thing I would suggest to those who really want to help, ask how you can help before just pushing us out of the way. I say that because as friends, relatives, & even my own parents have done in the past; the thought process is "I can get it done faster" while it may take us more time to do something, it only makes our frustration that much greater. I once had a gentleman pick me up & cary me across the intersection. I'd much rather walk on my own thank you. :)

With things the way they are in society now, awareness has come a long way, but we're nowhere near where we should be. The comunity around us has no idea what our day to day life is & I personally feel that a day spent in sensory deprivation may just bring the light of awareness that much closer.
When I began the early childhood program at the Blind Children's Learning Center in Santa Ana California, my parents attended a lunch event. This event was held for the parents of blind children. Parents had to eat their lunch blind folded. Most parents were in tears by the hour's end because they were unable to complete the meal with out a spill or even at all.
In my own parents's words,"you never know until you walk a mile in a person's shoes. & every person in the world is different. What is easy for you may be hard for me & everyone is different."

I was blessed with parents who didn't hold me back saying I couldn't do something I was always given the opportunity to try. My parent's are responsible for the person I am today. I don't give up easily, I don't take no for an answer if it's something I feel I _can achieve, & although my financial status may not be as great as that of others (I am richer in blessings than I am in finances), by no means am I poor.
If I made a mess, it was my job to clean it up. If I needed help, they were there to help me, not to do it for me.

I asked my own parents what they thought the worst thing a person could say was & to be honest I have to whole heartedly agree,
Poor baby, s/he'll never ... I'm sorry"
There is no way to really show a person what it is like to be autistic, or to have any number of developmental disabilities; but if we start with the physical ones we may just break the ice & teach the "normal" *what is _normal anyway?* people what our everyday lives are like.

Most people that stop & stare have a question that is genuine, but once a person knows the answer, they no longer wonder & thus they no longer feel the need to stare. I believe that _everyone has a special need of some sort. Maybe you have a weak knee, maybe a lazy eye, maybe even an alergy? All of these are special needs, something you have to make an adaptation for; is a special need. Some needs are bigger than others & believe me it truly is a small world after all.

I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have; you can post them in the comments below & I'll try my best to answer your questions to the best of my ability.
I really do hope to hear from you,,It wasn't until I spoke to an adult friend who has an auditory processing disorder that I was able to understand more of how to help my son make the adaptations he needed.
As always; God bless, & Make it a great day!