The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


November 16, 2013

Walk a mile in a special-needs kid's shoes


What you don’t know is that “A” has sensory processing disorder, which is why she is constantly touching and playing with things. What you don’t know is that “A” has a tic disorder, which could be classified as Tourette’s syndrome. What you don’t know is that “A” has been bullied at school, being called fat and ugly, and even physically assaulted on the school bus. 

You see, special-needs children should be treated a lot like special-needs animals. I’m using this analogy because you are quite obviously an “animal person.” They need to be treated with kindness, patience, gentleness and love. I realized that I was so upset because I felt like you, too, were bullying “A.” My mom hackles are up big-time.

Your unprofessional and inappropriate behavior is why I will no longer be a patron of your establishment. This is really quite upsetting to me because I think that “M” is amazing. You should take a few lessons from her on customer service. Being rude, judgmental, and small-minded really is no way to run a service-oriented business.

Hopefully, your blissful ignorance on the topic of special-needs children will be at least minimally chipped away by this letter. You might want to consider the fact that just because you cannot see an obvious disability, does not necessarily mean that one does not exist. One more piece of advice, the next time you have an issue with the way that a child is behaving, talk to his or her parents.

No parent likes to see a stranger discipline his or her child. Be an adult and have a little chat with Mom or Dad. I know it must seem a bit intimidating because the Mom or Dad might actually stand up for themselves and their children, whereas you have so much greater chance of making a child feel small and shameful without having to accept the possible consequence of your ignorant assumptions.

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