"It's Not Fair to the Normal Kids." Are You Kidding Me, Lady?
I've had quite an eventful couple weeks, starting with Recker missing many therapies because of being so sick. After about two weeks of sick bebe, he is finally feeling better, just in time for me to get pink eye last week. So I went to the doctor, and as I was sitting there in the waiting room, the lady next to me asked me if I went to Yale (because I had my Yale School of Medicine shirt on). I told her, no and that my son has Autism and that Recker is a part of their Autism Research Program. Then I proceeded to tell her what I do for work and how much I love it.
This is the shortened version of our conversation...
Ignorant Woman: Oh my nephew is autism (yes, she said it like that; should have been my first clue) and they try to stick him in with the normal kids, but I just don't think it makes any sense. It's not doing ANYONE any good having him with NORMAL kids. He should be in a school with other kids like how he is. Where I lived in Michigan, we had separate schools -- (I cut her off.)
Me: Well, yeah we usually do try and integrate them with the "typical" classes at least through specials or if they can handle it, a lot of kids with disabilities or ASD are fully included in the classrooms either by themselves or with an aide, which is awesome -- and I think that's what most parents' and teachers' goal is. Also there are so many LAWS ensuring that children with disabilities get the same opportunities of education that "typical" kids do. They are guaranteed the right to be in a classroom that will challenge them and help them learn and grow whether it be a full inclusion or not.
Ignorant Woman: Yeah, well my son has an autism kid in his class with him and he has an aide with him all the time, and he wears this heavy vest thing. I just honestly don't think its fair for all the NORMAL kids in the class. The autism kid is so distracting with his aide and vest and he makes all kinds of noises and flaps his hands and stuff. It's just NOT FAIR FOR THE NORMAL KIDS to have to deal with that while they are trying to learn. It's just not doing anyone any good having those kids in normal classes with normal -- (The doctor came out and called her name.)
After she went into the back room, I was so upset, I left the doctor's office. I was sick to my stomach, furious, sad, confused, and honestly, I didn't want to see that lady again. I was afraid I was going to LOSE it on her! I can not believe that there are people who think like this, and who would actually SAY those things to a MOTHER of a child who has ASD and to someone who works in a special education classroom. I was and still am sick.
I am pretty sensitive, but I pride myself when it comes to being tough about things like this. But honestly? I'm afraid. As a parent of a child with ASD, I will be dealing with this for the rest of our lives. How am I going to deal with people this ignorant and horrible? What am I going to do when its MY child that is being disruptive and all the parents think it's unfair that Recker is distracting their kids in class?
I have another year to toughen up before he hits preschool. I just honestly cannot believe that people actually say some of the things they say. Why do they think its okay to say whatever they think to whoever they want? I am just blown away! It reminds me of my mom when she was going through chemo, all the things people would come up to her and say about HER HAIR. We talk about it at work all the time -- how some people just seriously have no FILTERS, and how we are always surprised (and mostly disgusted) at people thinking they can just say whatever they want.
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By Diane Lang
By Diane Lang