Wednesday, 18 March 2015

acceptance, respect and tolerance

I have been thinking about doing this post for a while now and have finally decided it needs to be done…
There seems to be something unspoken these days I am not sure what it is, perhaps it is just that the world seems to have become very angry, people don’t want to extend any sort of empathy these days…

I have noticed this particularly in being a mom with kids that require more attention or as they have been labelled “special needs”, now we haven’t even had Gabriel properly assessed yet but he has already been slotted in under this term so for the sake of the post and its relevance I am going to just leave it as is for now.

First of all I have mentioned before that I have never really liked the term special needs and this is specifically because when you tell someone your child is special needs they either get this fake sympathetic look on their face or they immediately think you are either making excuses for your child or that your child is just badly behaved and you are a lazy parent….

Right because every parents dream is to hand over half or more of their salary to various doctors and specialists, special diets and therapies, to miss work and get into trouble for having to fetch your child from school all the time or to take them to said various appointments or even to hold your child for close on an hour while they scream and cry and fight you before they suddenly break down into tears and ask you what is wrong with them… of course what parent wouldn’t choose that right….

Yes my kids require extra attention and care, yes they require things that most other children don’t and that’s ok I am their mom and I chose to bring them into the world all quirks and extras included it only makes me love them more because they are blessed with qualities that most other children don’t have and the main one is respect for those that are different, for those that are labelled for those that are outcast or friendless because they have been there…

Last week when I attended the meeting at the boy’s school, the one teacher stated that her main concern was the parents of the other kids in the class…. Not the 1st time I have heard this and it really breaks my heart and not only that it really makes me angry…

I remember quite vividly when Loghan was about 2 years old, he had just started crèche and there were several children in the class who were biting at that stage, Loghan came home several times with bite marks on his arms and legs and my response to the teacher was just keep an eye on it, kids are kids and they are at that stage…. A week or so later when I went to collect him the teacher handed me a letter she said that it was from another mother whose child had been bitten by Loghan, I was a bit taken a back especially when I read it… omw I am not lying when I say it was 3 pages long…. Seriously 3 pages, she ragged on me telling me that her poor child had been mutilated by mine and how biting was a disgusting habit that I needed to punish my child and teach him not to bite and that if he bit her child again… please note this was the 1st time that she would take it further.

I was completely floored seriously woman, I responded and needless to say there was never an issue again especially when 2 or 3 days later her son bit Loghan and another child… karma in its finest.

My point is that some parents these days seem to think that their own children can do no wrong, there is no empathy towards another parent and no finding out the full extent of a story, for instance if Gabriel had to get a bit freaked out because someone touched him and he didn’t like it he pushes that child and that child goes home to tell their mom, that mom thinks oh my stars my poor child and runs to the school demanding that this other child be removed etc…

First off what happened to letting kids be kids, second off how about finding out what happened from the teacher or other child first before jumping the gun and lastly if you are told my child is special needs don’t have the frikken audacity to say that I must then remove my child and place them somewhere else so your child can live in this perfect bubble you think you have created, yes there are schools that are aimed at children who require special or more attention, a small handful but they do exist I just want to explain something about these schools:

-          It can take up to a year to get your child into one of these schools

-          The school requires 6 months of reports

-          A WCED official has to confirm that the child cannot function in a mainstream school

-          An outside psychologist/ psychiatrist has to confirm the same thing

-          The child has to show difficulty doing the school work

-          The children are not taught to function outside of this type of environment so what happens when they need to go out and find a job

-          Some of the schools are very expensive

That aside there is home schooling which is much cheaper but would of course require me to quit my job but still keep Jesse in a crèche so that I can teach my older properly, we cannot survive on one salary at the moment and home schooling lacks social interaction so if I were ever to do this I would want my kids to participate in outside sports and clubs in order to make friends etc this also requires money.

The biggest thing for me is that I want my children to succeed just as much as any other parent and to do this they need to learn to function in a normal everyday environment so that one day when they go out and look for a job they can function well and succeed the same goes for social interactions they need to learn the coping mechanisms that come with standard social conventions.

My point is that people really need to learn to have a bit more tolerance and empathy towards other people and children- it is not always a problem at home or something of that nature and if it is- that is not the child’s fault, if you are faced with a situation like this then why not ask the teacher if there is something you can do to help or check on the process the school is following with said child and encourage your child to be mindful- like baby just remember not everyone likes to be touched use it as a tool teach them about personal space etc, Loghan is extremely affectionate and has often randomly gone up to another child and hugged them sometimes that child is ok with it as is their parent sometimes not so we have explained to him that it is not ok to just go up to anyone and do that, that if he wants to give someone a hug he should ask first, it’s the same thing as we daily go through with him that it is not ok to ever lay your hand upon or lift your hand to another person or even an animal for that matter, if he is unhappy about something or if someone hurts hime he is to go straight to a teacher and if he does hit someone he is ‘punished’ for it yes at times he cannot help it but he knows right from wrong and he needs to know that no matter the circumstances he should not do it- it is not ok to hurt someone whether it be physically emotionally or mentally, every day we lay the groundwork every day we strive to teach him and his brothers to be the best  they can be and when Loghan used to come home in tears because he was bullied by other children we would hold him and explain that he is special and that the other children don’t understand him that he needs to be kind and show them that he is a great person to be around and play with and that it isn’t nice to make fun of people or be rude to them I don’t run to those parents and say your little darling is an absolute pretentious brat who has been taught to be so by you, no I don’t because children are cruel and it is not necessarily something that is taught at home it can be empathy and understanding is definitely something that is taught and should be encouraged.

You know what the best thing you can do for a special needs mom is, tell them it’s ok, tell them that they are not alone and that it will get better and easier, tell them that even though there will be tough days there will always be great days to follow and to hold on to those days, tell them their child is special and loved and that they will succeed because said parent/ mom is doing what they can and is giving that child the love and support they need, tell them it is ok to cry, to be angry sometimes or frustrated but that they will get up to fight another day….

The best thing you can do for someone else and especially someone with a special needs child is to show some understanding…I love my children and want only what is best for them just like you with yours but remeber you are laying the groundwork for how your child reacts to others who are different and you are the person who needs to teach them acceptance and respect of those who are different just as much as it is mine to teach my kids to be tolerant of those who do not understand and to teach them to teach others to be mindful of this.

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