Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Seemingly important mad ramblings of a crazy mother.

It's very important to know when you're dealing with a sensitive person. Especially if that sensitive person is actually a sensitive person.

Let me explain..
There are a few things that you are totally allowed to say to somebody who has a special needs child. There are also a few things that are 100% off limits. I'm here to help you separate the two.

Let's start with the most common mistake. Sometimes, we are given special kiddos who might be "noticeably" different or even come with some extra kiddo equipment,  It is NEVER okay to ask the question, "What is wrong with your kid?" I can't speak for everybody, personally, I prefer the terms, "different" or "special." However, I think everybody agrees that "wrong" is well...wrong.

The "R" word. I'm trying very hard to be understanding that this word has been years in the making and for some people, years in their vocabulary. I won't lie, I was one of those people. Before I knew how much it stung. Before I knew the negative impact my using it had. I'm learning to replace it, can't you?

Just like we have kiddos with noticeable differences, we also have some with none. It may seem like a compliment, but saying, "He/She doesn't even look disabled!!" just isn't the nicest thing to say. It actually is a touch offensive. Instead try, "He/She is doing so well." we LOVE hearing that, or go on to tell us what wonderful parents we are and how lucky said child is to have us, you really can't go wrong if you turn the conversation in that direction. ;)

Sometimes, well meaning individuals will speak up about a subject matter they have only just heard of, but really don't know much about. Mothers of children with Spina Bifida get this very, very often. In fact, let me just rewind and say that mothers of special needs children get this all of the time. Please, don't offer us your "Dr. Phil said...." or your "last night on Oprah" advice. I'm sure it's all very somebody.

Okay, I'm not trying to discourage you from talking to me, or "us" since I've taken the liberty to speak for all mothers of special kids... I guess I got a little snarky up there, let's take it down a notch huh? Bring it down to funky town.

To not speak of spina bifida, or of disability is to not speak of my youngest. Roman is my son, this is a part of my life now and these are just the small pieces that fall into it.
Things don't always have to be awkward and uncomfortable, sometimes being honest is really just the best way to go.
Instead of beating around the bush, "Is he...okay?" come right out and say "Man, what's next?" or, "I heard he's been in the hospital..what's going on?" I'm very down to earth, and if we're talking in the middle of wal-mart you can bet your bippy that I'm not going to collapse in a heap and get all hysterical and weird on you. In fact, I won't do that, ever.

....Unless you're my mom...or Jason....or Jessie...or Danielle brother..or..Joyce...or Jolene...Or Bridget...or any of my Sb moms on BBC...or any of my non SB moms on BBC. So, as you can see, I'm pretty emotionally stable. I can be trusted. ;P

End transmission.
bleep bloop bleep bleep bloop bleep

P.S: All I ask: be kind to one another. Be human.


  1. I have heard every one of those at least a dozen times! Makes me absolutely crazy! Anytime someone says "What's wrong with him?" I want to say "Nothing! what is WRONG with YOU!". I never say it though :) One day someone is going to catch me on a bad day and they might just get an earful! lol

  2. :) I nodded my head right off while reading this. Can we just post this on those new flashing billboards. Love ya girl! Right there with you.

  3. I agree, there are a few things you just shouldn't say, and people are well meaning, but they should know to not say the R word, "he doesn't look like he's disabled", and "what's wrong with him." (And I DO nicely say, "Nothing is wrong with him, he just has SB.") But other than that, like you said, I'd rather people be real and honest and ask questions even if they come out the wrong way if they're really wondering something. I think there's a lesson for the general public and also for a lot of special needs moms to just chill out and not TRY to find things to get offended about--that bothers me worse than the other stuff sometimes, lol.

  4. OH thank you for posting this!! I sometimes think I'm too polite to call people out on these things, but it drives me CRAZY! A cashier actually asked me "Is she going to have to "suffer" with those (AFO's) her whole life?" SUFFER?? Seriously? She couldn't come up w/ anything better than that? (Oh, and while I'm venting, :) I hate when people call it "spinal" bifida too...just a pet peeve of mine, but whatev.) But anyways, thanks for putting it out there for all of us!

  5. ugh, I hate (well, ALL these insensitivity: "oh, I can't even tell any is wrong" - duh, because nothing is wrong my kid is perfect, or "I can't even tell she's not normal/different..." Sometimes I don't even know how to take that. Is the person asking for a big label on Em that says "different??" I guess they are just saying they thought everything was okay, but now they realize otherwise...and that's offensive.

  6. Selina!
    Shoot! I actually meant to mention that it's SPINA BIFIDA. I had a nice little rant about how I wanted to take it up with spellcheck, firefox and google chrome and tell them to STOP underlining it with a big red squiggle, because I'm right. lol

    Word discrimination, I'll fight this.

  7. spinal Bifida HAHAHAHAH that made me laugh out loud i hate that too!!!

  8. sooooooo true!!!! Loved this post!!!