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The Judgements of Others…Shouldn’t They Know Better?

Posted Feb 10 2010 12:00am

An interesting thing….no matter how well you think someone understands the challenges your child faces, something so little happens that makes you realize, they understand nothing.  They can not see past their own globe, can not consider what others may have to go through, they know not how people in general are different and have different considerations.  I thought most people were smarter than this.  Case in point.

At our school, some of the students in the SSN (Students with Severe Needs) classroom park fairly close to the school.  In fact, we park in the handicapped spaces with the appropriate placards.  Now Alex has the physical ability to walk, it’s the long distances that can give him challenges, wear him down and cause other problems; other students who park here are working on the challenge of mobility.  However, Alex also has Sensory Processing Disorder, PDD-NOS and LKS making transitions an additional challenge.

We have to ensure that he is weighed down by his heavy backpack and guided straight from the car to his aide and into the school, reversed at the end of the day, straight into the car or we “lose” him.  A struggle ensues, right after a lot of chasing, crying, tantruming, general scene causing elements that are not good for the remainder of his day much less his social ‘presentation’ to his peers.  Parents, students, everyone has already witnessed this.  It took us most of a year to figure out exactly what we needed to do for him (slow, yes, I know).  We come a little later in the mornings and earlier at pick up to avoid all the commotion that tends to drive him crazy.

One day, recently, I pulled up for the morning drop off routine.  As it appeared an aide was unavailable to do the usual walking to our car to get him, I went about the normal placement of his backpack and began walking him in to avoid any delay or distractions, or to force the aide to come out in 14 degree weather.

15 feet from the front door, I passed to women whom I’ve had conversations with, but would be far from calling friends.  Acquaintances.  I overheard the following conversation:

(Looking up at my van)
#1: “I don’t understand what the big deal is…”
#2: “I know!”
#1: “…I mean, why can’t they walk them from there (looking at van) to here (the front door).  It shouldn’t be a big deal…I mean why can’t they just do it?!”
#2: “I know, it’s not that far and why do they have to have someone come get ….” (sees me and stops talking).

Yes, ladies, I heard you.

Now, I know that it is plausible that they were talking about something else, someone else, but really?  Looking at my van repeatedly, discussing the distance from that general area to where they were and the content of what they were saying…I.  Don’t.  Think.  So.

I guess what amazes me is that people, in a generally ‘open’ community can be so self-absorbed as to believe everyone’s life is as theirs.  It’s amazes me that they can be so narrow-minded and judgmental when the world is full of reports, information, presentations of the differences, disabilities, or disorders that surround us all.  These women appear intelligent, educated.  What makes it worse?  They are more than acquaintances with another parent of a special needs child.

Maybe I’m missing something, maybe I’m the one self-absorbed…but shouldn’t they know better?

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