Yesterday the teacher kind of hit a "sore spot" with me. Everyday after snack they brush their teeth. Eric's teacher said she was "surprised" that Eric was not able to spit after brushing his teeth yet. Now, I have to be honest here, Eric has always been quite a bit delayed in every part of development except, receptively. He did not crawl until he was 15 months. He did not walk until he was 3. He is still working on talking. For a long time Eric drooled A TON. So, as a parent for a professional, supposedly Special Ed teacher, to point out that she was "surprised" that Eric is yet delayed in another part of his developing, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
I still work hard everyday to not get offended when people say something or ask me something about Eric. It is the hardest thing when a stranger asks Eric "How old are you?" or "What is your name?" I try to let him answer for himself but when he says "Ga" for Eric and cannot say how old he is, the stranger then looks at me like "What's wrong with him?" I know in my heart that he is developing at his own speed and he is doing GREAT! When the Special Ed teacher asked me about the spitting after brushing his teeth I thought to myself, "Did this Special Ed teacher read the IEP (Individual Education Plan) that I gave her? Does she realize how far Eric has come in the past year? All of these questions keep floating in my head.
So that day when I saw Mark I told him about what the teacher had said. He actually was "surprised" that she asked a dumb question like that in the first place. He asked, "She is a Special Ed teacher, right?" Then he said, "Until someone walks in our shoes, they have no clue how it is raising a child with Special Needs." Mark always makes things so simple. That's what I love about him. He reassures me that Eric is doing great and he has come a long way. I agree.
I know that there will always be that person that rubs me the wrong way. I know that Mark will always be there to reassure me that we are doing the best we can with what was given to us. I know that Eric is smart and funny and super handsome! I know this road that we ended up on is a rough and windy road but it is always worth it when I see Eric smile and enjoying life.
I have a challenge for those of you who feel you are up for it...Next time you see a child with Special Needs and the opportunity arrises, smile at them and wave and tell that parent they are awesome! We always need to hear it! Don't be surprised if that parent cries right there in front of you! If you are at the park and you see a child with Special Needs, try to take your child over to say "hi" so that you can help them be aware that even though that Child is "different" that they still enjoy the same things. If you want to go even further, go say "hi" to that parent yourself because a lot of times people just stare and wonder. It would make our day to have someone not afraid to come and talk to us!
I would love to hear from anyone who takes on the challenge!
Until next time...