09 February 2011

PSA: Things not to say to a parent of a special needs child

People say the stupidest damn things when confronted with children with disabilities. I'm working on smartassed remarks for these comments. I've come up with a few good ones that I use on good/bad days.

God only gives us what we can handle.  (i.e. God did this. Don't even try to complain about it. OR This could never happen to me!)
    Oh really? Ever hear of suicide?
    No, it's a test to see if we'll ask for help. So, I'm asking. Wanna look after my kids?!

Your children are SO LUCKY to have you as parents. (i.e. Well, they have to have something going for them! OR GAH! I would totally beat that child! ALSO I am soooooo glad I'm not that kid's parent!)
    Yes, I suppose they could have had you. *turn and walk away*

What's wrong with him? 
    He has Autism. What's wrong with you? Nothing? Hah. Coulda fooled me!

Don't worry! She'll catch up eventually!  (i.e. I refuse to believe that anything can be wrong with any kid! ALSO, 'here, have some false hope!')
    Do you guarantee that? If not, can I get my money back?
    What makes you think so?
    Really? Her doctor doesn't think so.

Oh, that's normal! All kids do ______ sometimes. (i.e. You're over-reacting! Also see previous comment)
   Why yes. But mine do it every hour or so. Still normal?
   And you're a developmental psychologist, right? Where did you get your PhD?

That child just needs some discipline! (i.e. Why don't you beat him?! I would totally beat him!)
   OMG! Why didn't I think of that! Of course, I've just been letting him do whatever he wants whenever he wants without the first thought of trying to discipline him. WOW. Thank you for curing his Autism with a single ignorant remark!

Also, stop talking about him like he's not there. And more, stop treating him like he's not in your earshot. He can hear you. He can understand you. Telling me how you understand how hard it must be to live with a child like him is NOT productive.

For some reason, people don't treat children like they are human beings. And children with disabilities, even less so. So stop it, or I'll really lay a smack down on you.