I find that we have to be so careful of what we say in fear of offending someone, that we either say too much (and we don’t hear the other person) or nothing at all. Both to me, can be equally damaging, depending on the circumstances. The only way we can possibly learn from one another is to show genuine interest and ask questions, offer to help in our endeavour to try and understand a situation that is out of our comfort zone.
Believe me, when Danger is throwing a shit-fit at the supermarket, body crashes to the ground, squealing louder than the motorbikes he so loves!, stares don’t help. I generally have his twin with me and a bag full of crap! If he has his AFO boot on, I get more ‘concerned’ looks than if he doesn’t have his AFO on. I will get whispers of – control your child, what the hell is wrong with him and what is with that crazy woman?! These responses have not changed in the past few years, in fact, they are getting worse as he gets bigger.
Does that person have ‘special needs’ or ‘additional needs’, aren’t we all ‘special’?! I personally don’t mind what order you put the words in, as long as it’s followed by action – and that can be as simple as a kind smile! If you are getting the gist of it, or at least trying to understand it, then that’s better than saying nothing at all.
I love talking with people and the more parents I listen to, the one thing strikes me. We are just wanting to help our kids, that’s all. We just want them to be accepted in a world that often can forget you and leave you behind, if you are anything other than the ‘norm’. There are many parents sharing their piece of the world via social media to bridge the information gap, to help those who may not experience disability in some form, in their daily lives or to help those that are new to this way of life.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics say,
In 2015, Almost one in five Australians reported living with disability (18.3% or 4.3 million people).
With earlier diagnosis, this number is sure to rise. Yet, I find there is still an attitude of ‘if it’s not happening to me, then it doesn’t concern me’. Well, I think it does, I think it concerns all of us.
Apart from getting out there and beating our drum about it, writing about it and just talking to others, I guess, like all changes, it takes time. I do believe, however, that some things could change sooner. I would love to see a natural acceptance take place over time, something that becomes ingrained in our society’s view of what we perceive as ‘normal’ – just as we accept different family structures, why haven’t we done the same with our children with challenges, chronic health conditions and disabilities?
This is what has been on my mind these past few weeks, in my ever searching quest for actually being able to leave the house and feel truly at ease with it all. Last week was a shitty week and I wasn’t in a great place emotionally, so it took it’s toll. However, I heard from a lot of others who in their support, spoke of their experiences, even spanning to some 40 years ago, this continuing prejudice towards disability or situations that are different.
Yes it is different, but different isn’t bad – it’s just a different way, that’s all!