Having Patience with Insensitive People Lesson I Learned Raising A Child With Special Needs

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On Saturday, as my son and I enjoyed our weekly swim, I noticed a woman yelling at him in the pool for him to move away from her. Of course, Nate didn’t understand, as he is deaf and blind. So, I immediately moved to him as I apologetically explained to the woman his disability. However, she was not listening, as she spoke over me, expressing her issue with him being near her. I smiled, not wanting to be confrontational, as I helped Nate out of the pool.

This wasn’t the first time, that I encountered someone and their attitude toward my son. Another time during swimming, another woman would literally run away from Nate in the pool, if he swam near her. When she was tired of him, she would rush out of the pool, in the safety of the whirlpool. I would look at her, giving her a smile, as a look of distain appeared on her face.

Those two encounters are only a few of the many that I have noticed throughout the years. A few times, I have seen looks and grimaces on people in stores and restaurants. They look uncomfortable with the sounds Nate makes, the flailing of his hands, or perhaps his looks.

I know that I can give someone a “piece of my mind,” or a lecture on people with disabilities, or even a mini-lesson on treating my son and others like him with respect. However, I choose not to go that route.

Instead I have made the decision to be patient with people. Perhaps my patience will allow someone to see who they really are in relation to others with disabilities. I’ve seen it once, with someone “apologizing” to me for not “seeing,” Nate’s disability. I know this was only because of my patience and me not having an attitude.

It is true that if we are calm, and display patience toward people, who are not kind toward our children, they may be taught a lesson that they will never forget.

Charlene

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  1. 1
    Elizabeth

    I was startled in Target by a little girl with major facial anomalies. I had to take a breath before I grinned at her as I do at all kids. I wish I hadn’t paused, but it seemed an automatic reaction to such a degree of difference. I appreciate your approach. People can be scared of difference.

  2. 4
    Corrie young

    Sorry you’ve had to encounter that. As if us parents don’t have enough to deal with. You are choosing the absolute best way(the way Jesus has told us:) to deal with it. God bless

  3. 6
    Felicia Denise

    I applaud your patience and control. I’m not there yet. I’ve volunteered with community groups assisting children with Down’s Syndrome, and with the elderly and disabled veterans. We’ve taken them bowling, out for pizza, to the movies…just the everyday things we all take for granted.

    The reactions to members of all these groups by people in public just makes my jaws tight. You said the woman pulled away from Nate and she talked over you. I’ve had the exact thing happen, especially with Down’s kids. I didn’t smile nor did I hold my tongue.

    However, one day I didn’t get a chance to say anything. I was part of a group that took seniors out to a local Chinese buffet once a month – a different group each month. During one trip, we had a woman with us I’ll call Hazel. She was a petite little thing, close to ninety. Hazel was slowly losing her coordination and motor skills, and usually dropped her silverware several times during a meal. She was tough and refused to be fed, so whomever sat with her always had extra cutlery.

    During lunch, Hazel dropped four or five forks. Each time, a woman about FOUR tables away would make a rude comment. There were several diners between her table and ours, but those people smiled at us and never complained. One man even came over and talked with the seniors for several minutes after finishing his meal.

    When Hazel dropped another fork, the rude woman said something like, “Why must we be subjected to this? Why are they even allowed in here?” I’d had enough. But before I could get out of my seat, another woman at the table next to the rude woman stood and faced her and said, “They have done nothing to ruin my meal. You and your loud, mean-spirited comments are a different story. They have just as much right to be here as you…maybe even more because they know how to act in public!”

    The entire restaurant applauded.

    The rude woman quickly left the restaurant…with one of the reddest faces I’ve ever seen!

    That was about ten years ago, and I’ve thought about her a few times and wondered if she understood how her behavior was rude and unacceptable, and if she’s any kinder to those who need it most.

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