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