Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No! It Doesn't Take a "Special Person"

This is a piece I started writing in August or September of 2015 and never published. I decided  it is worthy of publishing over a year after I wrote it, typical for me :) 


I'm extremely tired of the "special person" for "special needs" people trope. Sick.of.it.

It is
Dangerous
Bigoted
Hurtful
Condescending

A while back I sat in a meeting with some parents for booster club I joined at my kids' school (which I have now left) and the "special needs" teachers came up (for the record I no longer use the term *special needs*). 

What followed after that was not anything remotely out of the ordinary when these topics come up in conversations,which was how special those teachers were and how sorry they felt for them.

There were more things said, but I stopped being able to hear them because all I could hear was my heart beating in my ears. I was seeing red. The conversation was gross. I couldn't sit and listen to it anymore, I had to say something. I started out with "This conversation is making me extremely uncomfortable can we please stop, you're talking about kids like my son"

After a long awkward silence they started apologizing, but no one changed the subject. One of the moms hugged me, she hugged me because she felt sorry for me because I have one of *those* kids. (and hugging is yuck and gross for me too, but that's a whole 'nother post) 

Now, I can take a certain level of ableism due to ignorance, but I can not take someone feeling sorry for me because my kid is disabled. Having a child with a disability does not make me a victim. His disability is not something he does to me. 

Having a child with a disability also doesn't make me a special person, just like my husband isn't a special person for marrying me.

The other mother proceeded to tell me how it takes special people to *put up with*  kids like *those* and how she knows because she has some of *those* kids. I stopped her and said "No it doesn't take special people, it takes not asshole type people. It takes decent and patient people, but not SPECIAL people"

I shared a bit of how my own son was mistreated in another school district, hoping that I could help humanize *those kids* to them, since they knew him from the school. 

But the response I got to that was :


Image reads the "special person" trope is dangerous.
It allows people to make excuses and justify acts
of abuse on disabled kids/people
because only special people
want to deal with us.
this is on a textured light blue background
"Well, I bet no kid in XYZ school is mistreated". Which I just kinda snickered at her smugness because she obviously has no idea how kids are legally mistreated every day in school especially in special education classrooms. And she must not understand that *those* children are exposed to things that are quite abusive and damaging in the name of "therapy" every single day. She must not be aware of how many of those oh-so-special people she speaks of kills one of *those* kids.

That is why the "special person" trope is dangerous. It allows people to make excuses and justify acts of abuse on disabled kids/people because only special people want to deal with us. If we weren't so difficult more not-so-special people could tolerate us and then maybe we'd be treated like real human beings and stuff. 


1 comment:

  1. This. Every frickin day! PTA meetings. IEP meetings. It even ruined Boy Scouts for him.

    He (and by extension me) didn't need to be treated special. He needed to just be allowed to learn and not have every error laid on the doorstep of autism.

    He's now in college. He's still autistic. Now he's special - he's a First Responder, EMS.

    I'm so glad to be done with schools, had I known what was to come I'd never have told them about his diagnosis.

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