Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Being a Better Advocate

When you have a child with special needs, that child needs an advocate more than anything. An advocate is someone who speaks in support or defense of a person. Sometimes I feel that I have failed in this department with Tyler. I am not someone who will speak up or cause a scene, and instead I am shy and pretend that I don't see the stares and the rude comments that are towards us. It doesn't matter what they think, right?

Wrong!!! If I don't speak up, then who will. And our society sometimes needs a reminder of not to judge. This past weekend proved that. I had the perfect opportunity to say something but instead was surprised and hurt that someone would say there is something wrong with my child. There were 3 girls about the age of 10, that saw Tyler in his Kid Kart who stared and whispered to each other saying "I wonder what's wrong with him, Is he paralyzed". And those aren't even bad comments they were just curious. But all I did was ignore the comments and walked on (and then complained to my husband about what I heard). What I should have said was "His name is Tyler and there is nothing wrong with him, he just can't walk yet".

Comments and stares from kids typically do not bother me. Kids don't really know better and are just curious and parents need to teach their children that everyone grows up in there own way and at their own pace. So don't judge. It's the stares and comments from adults that get to me the most. We are all different and have setbacks in some kind of way.

This is why I am happy that Tyler's school has a Disability Awareness week, to teach kids that everyone counts and we all learn differently. Some kids may not walk, some may not talk, but one thing that is the same is all kids want to play. So give them a chance. We all learn at our own pace.

So the next time someone says a comment I hope I have the courage to speak up for Tyler. It's the least I can do.

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