Everything seems kinda hazy of the time and date, but I remember the doctor telling me my son had a form of Cerebral Palsy called Schizencephaly. I was angry, sad, felt alone, and most of all I felt, why me? When I was young I never remember being mean or treating anyone different because my parents taught me to treat everyone the same. I had an uncle who was handicapped because he had a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis, and I had much empathy for him and I didn’t understand as I got older how my grandma could take care of him,it just seem so overwhelming. Now I understand, I am my son’s voice, arms, legs, and everything in between and believe me it’s no walk in the park.
I don’t care for people to pity me, I would just like them to have empathy. Children,as well as, parents should be taught to be made aware of people with all types of disabilities. I see children staring at my child, as well as, adults and they are the ones that make me the most angry because they should know better. It’s not like my child has a horn growing out of his head, so for someone to so blatantly look at my child like he is so out of the norm it makes me feel sorry for them because that shows me how ignorant they are. So I know I can’t expect someone like that to teach their child to have empathy for someone who may be different from them.
I have a step-daughter whom I have seen grow from the age of 4 and now she is 12. She loves her brother like it was her own life. I have seen her defend him, answer other children’s questions about him, and seen her cry over him because someone called her brother a “retard”. She was aware since she was little that her brother loved to be with her all the time when she went outside to play, even though all he can do is sit in his wheelchair and watch the other kids, and at one point when she was about 7 she said she didn’t want to take him with her. I couldn’t make her,but I told her imagine how it would feel for you to sit in one place all day long not being able to do anything and the only thing that made you happy was to watch or semi-interact with the other kids, how would you feel if he told you he didn’t want to take you out? From that day it was like she really understood what it was like to be her brother,since then she will take her brother where ever she goes if she is able to do so. At his school he is obviously in special-ed classes with other children that are similar to him or they are autistic, down syndrome, or just a little bit delayed. His teacher started a program that incorporated normal children from equivalent age classes to come and interact with the special needs kids. All the kids have grown and learn so much from each other it is really beautiful to see, that at their age they are learning that there will be someone who may look or act different but inside they really are not. Just because they are different in some ways doesn’t mean they have to be ostracized from the world. Most of all they have made new “special” friends.
Seeing all that I have seen with how I have taught my step-daughter to empathize, how children from his school love him, and even family and friends in general, if you teach them and answer questions from early on people will learn to be open-minded individuals. Now after 9 years I don’t feel sorry for myself, or pity myself, or even get angry because “God” found it in his heart to think I was “special” enough to raise my son and make everyone around me aware that my son is here for a reason. Today,you’re here to raise your children to learn about all types of differences and why they should treat everyone equally, because tomorrow you never know if they will be in my shoes. I can truly thank my parents that they raised me to care and love everyone equally and I truly feel everyone should do the same.