No other responsibility in the world could ever compare to being a parent. But this task becomes an even greater challenge and privilege when couples become blessed with extraordinary children. To put it bluntly, special children. No matter how differently they would treat parenting compared to parents of non-special children, however, others may make a mountain out of a molehill and tend to exaggerate certain details to accentuate the difference.
Blame it on a lack of awareness or sheer insensitivity, it’s best not to step on the toes of parents with special children. Here are some things that you should never bring up to someone with special kids.
1. “It must be so hard.” Just because parents with special children need to make certain adjustments with how to raise their child doesn’t make their parenting experience such an ordeal. Do not jump to this conclusion immediately and presume that the extra requirements equate to difficulty. These children are not inconveniences or nuisances in their parents’ lives.
2. “Is he walking or talking already?” Yes, it’s a fact that overall the child may not be experiencing the same developmental milestones at the rate that average kids are, but no need to rub it in. The irritation really stems from the sense of urgency from the one asking, emphasizing the delay in development.
3. “He looks so normal!” It is actually exceptionally rude and disrespectful to even suggest that the child is not normal, or, to put it simply, abnormal. That’s why they coined the term “special children” in the first place. And it is not anyone’s right to say what is normal, because what may be normal for them is not exactly your idea of normal, but normal, nevertheless.
In a nutshell, treat that parent the same way you would any other parent and do not show signs of sympathy because raising a child with special needs is nothing to be sorry about or ashamed of. Instead of highlighting the differences in terms of growth and development, focus instead on and celebrate these kids’ achievements and marvel at their parent’s love and devotion for them.
Source: • July 21, 2011. Ellen Seidman. “7 Things Not To Say To Parents Of Kids With Special Needs” Parents.com • Terri Mauro. “We Expect Respect: A Manifesto for Parents of Children with Special Needs” specialchildren.about.com