The Truth Is…

cryingThe truth is, children with developmental disabilities get left out. I’ve seen it. Maybe it’s good that I only had one child. That way there’s no possibility of giving one child more attention than the other. I’ve seen in families of two or more children, that the one who does not have a disability gets treated better than the one who does. That’s sad and it angers me.

For example, a person has two children. They each have a birthday. The ‘normal’ child gets a full blown birthday party and receives all the gifts that he asks for. Later in the year, the disabled child has a birthday. What do they get? A couple cheap toys and no birthday party whatsoever, and that’s only if their birthday is remembered at all.

My son has autism. Is that supposed to mean that he doesn’t have feelings? He does. When others get more love than he does, it hurts him. When other children are being played with and he is invisible, it hurts him. If he’s in a room and everyone is talking and laughing around him, but no one even bothers to look at him, it hurts him. He has feelings. He experiences hurt. He feels sadness.

Look into his eyes and you will see his tears. You will see his pain. You will see how sad it makes him when he is unseen, unheard and unloved.

Love is an action. Kids can be told that you love them over and over again. But if you don’t show them that love, then that love means nothing.

It breaks my heart to see these precious children being thrown to the wayside by those who are supposed to love them. It tears me apart to see these children get the short end of everything. Do they only deserve the leftovers?

My son is amazing. He is one of the sweetest, most giving people I know. He’s done nothing to deserve the shortage of love that he receives from so many people in this world.

I am disappointed in people. I am disappointed that they justify their actions, by believing that these children are somehow blind to what’s happening around them. That they believe that ignoring someone is acceptable. It is not. It is never acceptable. These children have hearts that can be broken too.

If you have a child with a disability (or teach them in a school setting), please don’t overlook the fact that they have feelings too. They deserve all the same attention and love that your ‘normal’ child receives.

Related Post: My Son’s Not-So Superpower

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24 Responses to The Truth Is…

  1. They deserve the same because they are human beings.

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  2. Little Drakon says:

    One of our neighbors has three kids, the youngest has autism. I love that they treat all three kids equally, and in the past year, I have watched the youngest blossom (he was the only little boy in the neighborhood until we moved in)! It’s amazing what can happen when disabled children are treated equally – they grow into the fun loving kids that they should be.

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  3. LindaGHill says:

    Although I tried to pay equal amount of attention to all my kids, I wasn’t always successful. I’m talking about when all three of them were here. Now it’s just me and the two disabled ones – my eldest, the ‘normal’ one, moved out when he was 18. One of the reasons for that was that he was being ignored. The two disabled kids took up so much of my time on regular days that I wasn’t able to pay attention to the eldest. So yes, when he had a birthday, he got to go with all his friends to an indoor playground.
    Eventually I joined a karate class with him, just so he could have some one-on-one time with me. That lasted a couple of years.
    All this to say that it’s not always as it seems on the surface. Sometimes the quality of time spent makes all the difference, one way or another.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I can completely see and understand your point. It is valid and I can see where that would be the reason behind why some parents do this. Some disabilities do require a great deal of attention and the other kids can feel somewhat neglected because of it. In your case, it is wonderful what you did for your other son, in giving him one on one attention.

      Unfortunately, for what prompted this, that isn’t the case. In this case, their presence in a room is almost always ignored. It’s not a matter of ‘making up’ to another child. It’s truly a case of the person (people) just don’t realize what they’re doing.

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  4. suzjones says:

    I had a thought the other day (yes they sometimes occur). I wonder if when families have a child born with a disability into it, they find that they can’t accept the diagnosis and so refuse to look any further than a way to make their damaged child/family member better? They find it difficult to accept that the child will bless their lives in ways they never thought possible? They see the child as damaged rather than anything else?
    I’m not excusing their behaviour but possibly finding a reason for it.
    (and unfortunately I am commenting on a first hand observation of people I know and love).

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    • mewhoami says:

      Damaged. That got my attention above all. With my son, that’s exactly how it seems that some people see him. Almost in a way that he is undeserving of attention, because he should be normal.

      Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown? Really, I think a lot of times, it’s just plain ignorance. People look at these kids (especially those like my son) only using their own understanding. It’s hard for them to wrap their minds around the fact that the child can’t help their learning disabilities.That they do indeed need help and guidance to overcome them. That they can’t just ‘make it go away’ and ‘be normal’ overnight.

      It varies among people, but in this instance (what prompted this) was nothing more than seeing these kids get completely ignored, as if they don’t exist at all.

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      • suzjones says:

        I think what is difficult for my family is that the bub belongs to my cousin who was born when my aunt was in her late 40’s – therefore all of her older siblings and her mother are aging and their concepts are vastly different to that of today.
        There is no magic fix and this baby is a blessing but their view is framed by their outdated perceptions.

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  5. DailyMusings says:

    Such an important post and all so true.I saddens me to see people not treat children and adults with special needs as they would someone without. They are human beings, people, with feelings. I feel so strongly that this important message be told over and over again until people start really waking up to it.

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  6. I don’t have personal experience with this. But it saddens me. That any child feels left out, in addition to ‘feeling’ different.

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  7. I have two kids, they are now well function adults both of them. Big sister and little brother. My daughter was very bright from day one and my son had special needs as special school and so. It was very difficult to treat them equal, even I really tried my best. But the son did need much more attention, while he was little, which was sad for my daughter. She needed the attention too. So it can go both ways.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It can certainly go both ways. I should have touched on that side as well. It’s hard to give the right amount of attention to someone when someone else requires so much of it. I’m sure you did a great job giving them each the attention that they needed. Parenting is a challenge. All we can do, is do our best.

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  8. Oh, wow. So powerful!

    I have to share my own overcoming – there are multiple disabled kids at my son’s high school, and Mr. T has a special relationship with one of them – every time they run into each other, T bends down and gives him a High 5 (the other kid is wheelchair bound). I will be honest, my first reaction was “how sweet!” followed by “I’ve raised such a good son” and then followed by… “oh crap. Mr. T is treating him like he treats everyone else… I’m the one that assigned special meaning to it!” And I realized that in that moment, Mr. T was raising me!

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    • mewhoami says:

      That is an awesome story. What a sweetheart of a son you have He didn’t just learn that out of no where. He must have gotten it from the living examples that you’ve given him. I loved that statement about him raising you. My son has raised me in many ways. Thank you so much for sharing that. It touches my heart to hear kids treating others with such care and compassion.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Also, please feel free to tell Mr. T that I said thank you. Also, that I, a mom with a special needs son, truly appreciates the kindness he shows to those who are disabled. The positive impact that his actions make on their lives, is greater than he’ll probably ever know.

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  9. April says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here—I think that society ignores any person who doesn’t fit into the “normal” definition. They don’t know how to talk to them,.They don’t recognize the person, they recognize the disability. Same with appearance.

    Our oldest son was “ignored” after we moved to Georgia, because he had long hair. Because he had long hair, he must do drugs. So far from the truth! It used to make him mad.

    When we received their class schedules for the new school, we walked around to get the layout of the school, and to find their way to each class. My kids were moving from small town high school to one with more than 2400 kids. Anyway, we happened to meet a couple of the teachers they would be having. I remember telling my son’s AP History teacher that he would sit in the back of the class, wouldn’t participate much beyond a grunt of opinion, and appear as if he isn’t paying attention, but he was.

    At the end of the year, awards were passed out for various reasons. This particular teacher stood in front of his class of 700, and said the most wonderful things about him. He earned an award of Most Outstanding Student. Her words were something like–as a new student, and a man of few words, when he opens his mouth or turns in an essay, I am absolutely wowed. She made two parents very proud, as he begrudgingly walked onto the stage—hair flowing. He graduated third in his class, only behind the first two by .002 of a percentage point. (screwy gpa calculations)

    My point being–after my shameless brag–SOME people don’t look past outward appearances, or if a person happens to act differently. They see a wheelchair, not the person sitting in it. They see something they don’t understand, and don’t realize that the person has feelings as well.

    That’s the reason I pretend I don’t have depression. Most times I stay home to avoid others. I also don’t talk about my cancer diagnosis much either, except on here. People just don’t know what to say, and I feel more awkward that I already do.

    Okay, I’m done. 🙂

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    • mewhoami says:

      You can/’t judge a book by its cover. Your son sounds like an amazing, smart young man. I know that speech must have made you very proud. Any parent would love to hear that about their child. He showed them, didn’t he? Haha!

      People are so quick to judge others based off their looks, odd quirks and even their silence. When people don’t understand someone, they don’t know how to treat them. Maybe they feel intimidated by their own ignorance?

      People used to call be stuck up, because I’ve always walked very straight and was shy. They took my posture and silence to mean that I thought I was better than them. In fact, most of the time it was the complete opposite. People are odd creatures.

      Your hesitance is speaking about your depression and cancer diagnosis is very understandable. Unfortunately, when people don’t understand, we can’t make them. Nothing we say makes sense to them and that gets tiring.

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