Enrichment Kids Love

6 Things Parents of Kids With Special Needs Wish You Would Say

handicapped parking space
"What's wrong with your son?" That's the question a friend, whose son has special needs, was asked recently. Imagine being asked that about your kid. This is the sort of things parents of kids with special needs deal with fairly regularly -- be it on the playground when someone sees the eyes of a child with Down Syndrome or in the grocery store when a child with autism is having a meltdown. 

The good news? Not everyone is trying to be a jerk. Some people just have a bad case of foot in mouth disease that seems to break out around kids with special needs.

So how do we bridge the gap? How do we satisfy people's curiosity without making a child feel like a science project?

More from The Stir: What Special Needs Moms Do All Day

We asked some parents of kids with special needs what they WISH people who ask or say ... instead of a lecture or an insensitive comment.

What do YOU wish people said to you or your special needs child?


Image via Tim & Selena Middleton/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Emmie

I had several moms walk right by my son kicking, punching, and screaming at me in the parking lot of school on the first day. We have plans in place to deal with this behavior, but it was more intense than normal. One mom stopped, put her hand on my shoulder and asked, "can I help?" I just melted into tears. It was a new school for my son - a school that he really needed, but he was scared and I was out of tools. New situation for me and new for him. It was so helpful to have someone see what was happening and understand he wasn't just a "brat". Between her and I, we were able to calm him and get him through the door for a new start at a school he LOVES.

nonmember avatar me

What id wish is people would understand that just because my daughter doesnt look any different from theirs on the outside, in the inside her brain still operates little differently. Shes 6, shes beautiful, happy, bubbly and loves her year older brother, but she has aspergers, which makes her very unwilling and uninterested and uncomfortable to meet new kids. Ive witnessed many times a little girl asking if she wants to play in the playground, and she would tell her bluntly to go away. Her mother will step in and tell her daughter that my daughter is rude, she should find someone nice to play with. Really? Adults gonna call little kids names now? Were working on her responses, vocabulary and behavior, but in the meantime itd be nice if she wasnt called names by anyone

emera... emeraldrose13

I wish people would realize that ADD DOES exist and my daughter's not a brat although she sometimes acts like a toddler. She's 8. If my daughter's having a meltdown, I will handle it. Unless I ask for your help, I don't need/want it. I know a lot of people pity me and look, down on me because I'm a single mom. I've been doing it alone since she was 8 1/2 months old.

Mary Parker Bradley

Good luck with this. My step-son is almost 16 (next month) and everywhere we go, because of his behavior and his constantly being so LOUD, people look at me with complete disgust everywhere -- like "why don't you control your child" or "you're a failure. I've had this child since he was 2 as his mother died when he was a baby. We have had him to every doctor and specailist in a 3-state radious. He has been to an RTF for 2 years, a mental hospital, etc., and has more diagnoese that one can even imagine -- not to mention the amount of drugs he had and does currently take make him look like a walking pharmacy. To complicate all this, his IQ is a 76 which makes him not qualify for many services yet he is in a special ed/life skills class and reads on a 5th grade leve, and does math on a 2nd grade level.  Because he doesn't look all that "odd" (albeit he walks strangly), people just act like I'm the problem for not doing something with him. He's tried to burn down our house three times, hurts animals (recenlty our cat), hurts children, etc., -- and now he is back at home (again). We can't get him appropriate help on a permanent basis. Every doctor tells us he needs "managed care" but good luck finding that. It doesn't exist. So no, no one wants to help. 

Ickles Ickles

I was in Chicago OHare airport on a long layover. I wanted to sit down and eat at the Macaroni Grill there. My three year old son was completely melting down and would NOT get into the high chair. I was on my own with my two kids. One of the employees there came up and distracted him, and tried to sooth him. It worked. He sat down through the meal. She kept bringing things for us. I would have lost my mind if she hadn't come along.

nonmember avatar Amanda

God bless all of you, your children and families!!

Jenn Mcnary

what about saying nothing? my son is 14, in a wheelchair full time, we are tired of comments ranging from "wow, what a good driver!!" (um ok, nice walking there friend?) to the "whats wrong with him?/can he walk?/what does he have?" or the really fun..."wow! what a cool chair, wish i had one!!" if you wouldn't talk to a 14 yr old without an obvious disability, please feel free to let us pass you by with no comment what-so-ever thanks

marie... mariesmama

my daughter is speech delayed by almost a yr and has ehlers danlos and spd  she's otherwise a normal if hyper 4 yr old the school marks her off for touching on everything, and her teacher has told us i cant understand your kid when she speaks add to that her world being flipped around and the poor girl is really adjusting as expected

Momm2... Momm2threeboyz

@ JennMcnary, that has to be the MOST ridiculous thing I've ever heard. So you would rather the whole world ignore you and your son as oppose to finding a way to strike up a convo? Sound bitter to me. Get over yourself and show your son, just because he's in a chair, he isn't any different/worse/better than anyone else. The way you are going at it will make him a loner..and after you are gone, he'll just end up lonely. Selfish!! Smh..

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

I don't know Momm2threeboyz... I don't go around striking up conversations with random people very often, why would I do it JUST because a person has a disability? I think her point is for others to NOT make a big deal about normal things just because they feel as though they should say something.

A person deserves to be treated 'normal.' And if just walking on by is what you'd normally do- then just keep on walking on by.

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