Monday, May 18, 2009

How To Act When You See Someone With A Special Need

How do you react when you see someone with a special need? How do you respond to your children when they see someone with a special need?

I have to say I was a bit shocked this weekend at something someone said right in front of our precious child this weekend at a yard sale. Do people think that just because a child may look a little different that they are deaf too? How is it that even if you are thinking something that would hurt someone that it's OK to let it out of your mouth?

I know I'm not perfect by any means but come on people please think about what your saying before it comes out of your mouth. It's not OK to treat my son different because of how he looks. The only thing that is different than any other child is he has one less arm and he can do WAY more than any other child his age.

So a little advice to those that honestly don't know how to react to someone with a special need here are some tips:

Please don't make jokes about their special need unless they are OK with it.

If you honestly have a question about it ask. If your just being nosy then mind your own business (sorry to be so blunt).

If your child has a question about it please don't drag them away and hush them up. A lot of time children are scared of differences and they just want to make sure the child wasn't hurt or in pain. Ask the person or the parent. This may bother some parents I don't know but I would rather someone ask me.

Please, please don't allow your children to treat someone that is different badly. Take the time to educate your child about how God made everyone unique and special.

I'm sorry to be so blunt but this is something people need to know. I have a couple of friends that I know read this blog that have special needs and I would love it if you would comment on how you prefer people react to your special needs. If you read this and have a child with a special need can you also comment on how you prefer people react to your child?


Jaime said...

Man! That's really crummy. Luckily I'm not at the age for jax to ask questions yet. But I tell him frequently that God made everyone different.
But, since you brought this up.... I have a question that I'm pretty embarassed to ask. But, here goes...
When I see a special needs person, I just smile at them. (And then I secretly say a prayer.) I know that people can't read my smile and know that I'm praying for this person that God made so uniquely special and that I know He has done amazing things through this person. Is that okay?
I also have some interaction sometimes at church with special needs, and I just treat them the same as everyone else... not really, I'm a bit nicer and more patient and my sarcasm is usually gone. Is that okay?
(I'm pretty sure that when God blesses us with a special needs child, I'll feel like an idiot for just smiling.)

Tony and Rett said...

GREAT post! One of my girls has a special need (or did at one time) but really, them being twins from China is enough of a special need that we get those same invasive questions! The one I got JUST this weekend at church, "Can I ask a question? Are they real sisters?" Grrr :) I agree...ask, but do so with discretion. Their little ears CAN hear!

I think you're spot on about us taking the time to educate our children about how God created us all to be unique, special, and yet, in HIS image.

Again, great post!

Goins Gang said...

Sorry to hear that someone was rude like that! You're right, maybe if we educate our children then how they treat others will impact other children/adults!

Tony said...

Educating your kids is definitely important. Some disabilities may impose certain limitations on what or how someone accomplishes a task. Others just require doing things differently.

For example, being blind I can't read the computer screen, but I have software that converts the text to speech. Accomplishing the same thing you do, but in a different way.

On the other hand, my wife had part of her leg amputated and it's likely she's not going to be doing any skydiving any time soon (hasn't stopped me from trying to talk her into it though :-) ). She pretty much finds ways to do anything else she wants to though.

I think the most important part is to treat someone with a disability like you would anyone else of their age until you learn that you have to interact with them differently because of their particular disability.

Jaime, I wouldn't worry about acting differently than you normally do. Ask anyone who knows me, I'm one of the snarkiest, sarcastic people around :-)

Rett (I'm assuming), next time just tell them, "Actually, you busted us. They're not sisters, but we thought having twins would be cute so we had one cosmetically altered to look like the other..."

My experience is limited to my particular disability, but I think it's pretty much the same across the board. People just want to be treated like other people, and get on with their lives.

I'd echo what other people have said. If you have a question ask.And let your kids ask questions too. Sometimes the question might be embarassing, but kids are curious.

I remember a time when, standing in line at Wal-Mart customer service, this kid in front of me started to ask his Mom something about me. She got all nervous that he was about to ask about my white cane, or the way my eyes looked. instead he asked, "mom, why is that man's belly so big." It was all I could do to keep from laughing... and buying "Abbs of Steel" right there. :-)

Not sure if this is what you meant by chime in Sarah, but there you have it. :-)

Mom Of Many said...

Great post girlfriend!! I was going to do one similiar sometime. Last week when we were in Greeley we made a quick stop to the Ross. We were standing in line and a very obviously drunk woman, with a natural snarl on her face looked at Isaiah in his wheelchair and said, "How did he break his legs?" I said, "Oh, they're not broken." She then wrinkled her face in the most disgusted look and said, "Then what's WRONG With HIM?" I just smiled and said, "There's nothing wrong with him." After Emma and I were saying that since she was drunk as a skunk I should have said, "What are you talking about?" And then she would have made a comment about both legs being in casts and I could have said, "I don't know what you're talking about." LOL She was just being creepy and I didn't feel like I owed her an explanation.

We get people all the time asking if E & E are siblings?? We say, "They are now!" Then some obnoxious folks continue on saying, "You know what I mean." No actually, we don't ya Dork! Ooopsie, did I say that??