Special needs are not contagious.
I’ll wait while you gasp.
No, really. The theory that they are is about as real as glittery unicorn farts.
Yesterday, “Do Prettier Moms Get More Playdates?” sparked awesome debate about the where, when, how and why of making friends with other moms.
But here’s the telling part.
Only about three commenters out of a almost a hundred addressed the second part of the question – “Do prettier moms get more playdates? Or do special needs kids just get the shaft?” – and I’m pretty sure it’s only because they have kids with challenges, too.
So here’s what I think. Special needs, disabilities, handicaps – whatever you want to call a child’s individual struggles – weird “mainstream” parents out. Makes them feel awkward and maybe even scares them, like their kid is all of a sudden going to come down with a case of the differently-abledness.
This probably explains why Gibbs’ social calendar is empty.
But, you know what? It’s not like a chicken pox party. Exposing children to other kiddos with disabilities regardless of severity won’t negatively influence them. Instead, it fosters communication, compassion, understanding and tolerance of those different than they are, which is kind of what making friends is all about.
There’s really no need to feel uneasy. Get to know us and our children first. Having a child with challenges is isolating, and we’d love to have some adult interaction and see our kids become friends with other children in the neighborhood. Same as you.
So here’s a new question: Would you feel comfortable letting your children play with a special needs child?