That’s right, folks. Special needs are not contagious.
That it needs pointing out however, gives me the sad panda of sob.
Yesterday, I posted Do Prettier Moms Get More Playdates?, which sparked a pretty heated debate about the where, when, how and why of making mom friends.
But of all those who commented, only three readers responded to the second part of the question – “… or do special needs kids just get the shaft?” And here’s thinking that only happened because they identified themselves as special needs parents too.
Special needs, disabilities, handicaps – whatever you want to call a child’s individual challenges – weird “mainstream” parents out. Special needs parents know that as truth.
I get that disabilities make parents feel awkward if they have no experience with them, and maybe even scare them a little. Because, you know, their kid might “come down” with Asperger’s or Down’s Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy or whatever just by hanging out.
I get it.
But I don’t accept it.
Neurotypical children playing with disabled children is not like a chicken pox party. Exposing them to kids with disabilities, regardless of severity, won’t negatively influence them. Promise.
Instead, it will encourage them to be communicative, compassionate members of society with a personal understanding and tolerance of those who are different than they are, which is kind of what making friends is all about.
Look, aside from craving adult interaction, us special needs moms and dads just want to see our kids become friends with other kids in the neighborhood. Same as you.
Would you feel comfortable letting your children play with a special needs child?
Photo source: morguefile