Monday, March 9, 2009

Talking to Children About Disabilities

By not talking to your children about drugs and other impt. conversations, it is the same thing as giving them the greenlight as ignoring the topic implies it doesn't matter to you.

By not having a family emergency plan, then how are your children supposed to know what to do in a dangerous fire. Will they try to save all the family inside pets? Will they run to their room and try to pack up their favorite toys??

What would happen if you didn't teach your children whatever manners you value?? We value saying thank you, please, yes sir and no m'am, but then we're southerners, so what do you expect?? If we didn't teach our son to say these polite courtesies, do you think he would know we expected him to say them??? Not likely, he's smart, but he's not a mind-reader.

What are you teaching your children about race and other religions?? Are you teaching them to be racist?? We teach our son that he is no better nor no less a person than anyone else. People are people, regardless of race, creed, country of origin, or religious prefererence. What do you think your children would think if you just skipped this topic too, can they read your mind???

On to one of my issues at heart...........I have been a special education teacher for quite a number of years, prior to my injury, and social respect and toleration for others starts at home. Children have to learn and to learn, they have to be taught, they can either learn by what you don't say or by what you do say. I have spent my teaching career teaching toleration, respect, and friendship for those who are different than us, but I am one person and all teachers do not think nor do as I have done. How would you think your teenage daughter and her friends would behave if they went into Walmart, got behind a disabled person on one of those incredibly cumbersome, slow-moving motorized carts that moves like -1 mph and they had to wait for the aisle to clear? I can tell you how 3 teenage daughters acted when they got behind me this year, well, I won't be repeating the exact wording, but basically they laughed at me and told me to move my......slow.........out of the way - you may feel in the blanks. How would you hope your children acted in front of disabled people?? Have you taught them how to behave or are you just assuming like the race issue, the other religion issue, the drug issue, the smoking and exploration issue - are you just assuming they know??

What about in an elementary classroom where there are children who don't have the 130 I.Q. like your darling daughter or son? Does your child take the time to help that child or do they make fun of them or maybe not outright make fun, but laugh when others make fun???????? What your child does or doesn't do in that elementary, junior high, high school classroom or even at Walmart may be something hurtful that another person who has feelings and thoughts remembers for many years. The Walmart incident happened almost 12 months ago and it still stings a bit.

I have taught every grade, but 4th. I have been the teacher, the coach, the mom, the police officer of sorts, the go-between, the defender, the brick wall between two 6 ft. boys who wanted to fight, and I have been the one who picked up the pieces best I could for the child who was laughed at because their hand was deformed, because they have a 90 or less IQ and need lots of help and lots of special classes, or I've even been the wall between the child who was not only special, but had been molested and was in just about the worst social way as she could be. I cannot do it all. I cannot save them all. I cannot lessen the pain from the memories for all of them, but you can. You are the parents who have the regular kids and those regular kids can make the difference in a special child's life that gives them a reason to enjoy their childhood, helps them at least know how to write their name, doesn't laugh when the 19 yr. old who can't read finally gets to a teacher who cares so that the 19 yr. old will open up and let the teacher help. You, the parents, make that difference by teaching your children how to have manners, not do drugs, not explore inappropriate activities, to be tolerable of others whether they are gay, special, look different, smell different, walk different, or can't even walk at all.

You may never know what a difference you have made in the life of a special child, because you taught your child to care and love and respect and be friends with everyone regardless of any requirement other than the other person to be a member of the human race.

Now, this topic was presented to me to blog about from one of my online social networks in order to be entered into a drawing for some giftcard, but I think the first 15 slots have already been taken, so I didn't write this for the card, I wrote it because it is a topic very close to my heart. I hope in my ramblings that you get the jist of what I was trying to say.


Here's the website I'm about to check out myself as apparently CVS has some great things going on with their website and things that they do.


  1. Very touching! and very important. Love your perspective on this.

  2. Hello Mignon! Kudos for posting this!! I have a 12 yr old daughter w/ Downs Syndrome, so I completely understand what you are saying here. Thank god for all the great special needs teachers and aides.

  3. Hi, thank you. The majority of my parents were quite appreciative and did what I never expected and that was to put their faith in me so completely that the weight on my shoulders grew, but to have had that kind of weight was and is a honor. If I gave one parent out there food for thought, then it could make a difference in the life of at least one special child out there somewhere and that's pretty darn awesome.

    Mignon :)

  4. I have a son with Down Syndrome and wrote on the All Kids Can topic as well today.
    Thanks for sharing your story and your view. As a parent of a special child I appreciate what you've done and that you recognize there is a difference to be made.

  5. Thanks Valmg. I am and advocate - there is no other word. Special children are my heart. :)