Should we?

Sometimes, when you have a child with additional needs, it’s really hard to know how to play it. And by that I mean, when someone acts a certain way towards your child, it’s hard to know whether to say something or just let it go. Confrontation is not usually my bag, but when that comes to Oscar, I seem to find it hard to remain silent.
Just this week Ashton Kutcher has shared an emotional video of a father of a little boy with Down Syndrome, who felt like he’d failed his son by not standing up to someone. That someone had said something derogatory about his child. The video is of him explaining how amazing his little boy is and how he wished he’d told the person who’d described Down Syndrome as an “illness” of “not knowing much”, that that wasn’t the case at all. The videos been around for a while but I’m guessing because Ashton has shared it, it’s getting even more publicity and shares which can only be a good thing. You can watch it here – https://www.facebook.com/Ashton/videos/10154552565877820/?hc_ref=ARRZhiNEBYJX6WMmQb_RUaW2FZXZxyQL00aI9SnEwMNGNYlBN9y-If_4nfkATEEIoRw&pnref=story
So yesterday, on a day out with his cousins, when Oscars soft scoop ice cream fell on the floor for a second time (and let’s remember, Oscar was acting a little more irrationally than usual due to his ear infection) and when he proceeded to chase Flo to get hers (which failed, as at two years old and wise to her big brothers love for HER ice creams, she wasn’t having any of it), in his frustration, he went over to the sign for ice creams and pushed it over.
In the same way, when we’d sat down for a picnic, because he wasn’t feeling much like eating, he wouldn’t sit with everyone else else and enjoy the spread (which is very unlike him because usually we can’t prize him away from a cocktail sausage and a chocolate swiss roll) he decided jumping on his scooter and taking off downhill in the direction of a river, was a much better idea and no amount of me shouting “Oscar STOP” would actually stop him. I then spent the majority of my lunchtime running after him and said scooter (which in flip flops downhill is not ideal) because, In short, he was on one.
So when he deliberately pushed over the ice cream sign and a lady who happened to be walking past, rolled her eyes and shook her head in disgust, it was difficult to know how to play it. She probably, from behind, didn’t even realise he had Down Syndrome (not that I condone his behaviour just because he does by the way), but if she had, would she have been more forgiving? Would she have understood that his destructive behaviour wasn’t because he was deliberately being naughty, more because he couldn’t find the words to tell Flo he’d wanted her ice cream because frustratingly he’d dropped two already.
Because I was obviously feeling a bit narky yesterday (who wouldn’t be after having to run up and down after a 5 year old on a scooter most of the morning) I shouted after her…
“You don’t have to shake your head at him”
It was quite possibly THE lamest come back in history. I’m pretty sure in hindsight I/we could think of so much more to say next time, but that was all I could come up with in the heat of the moment. She didn’t turn round even though I know she heard me. Her husband did and looked a bit bewildered but didn’t say anything. But it’s got me thinking again….
Yesterday I received a message from a lady who has a two year old little boy with DS. I will show you the message below but I wondered what you guys thought? Should we really care what other people think? Should we, if they’re not directly involved in our lives, even bother trying to educate? Is it worth the emotional stress and energy? Or do we owe it to our kids? Here’s her message…
Hi, my husband and I are also the proud owners of a little boy (2) who happens to have DS. I was just curious if you have had any experiences of over hearing people talking about your child and how you dealt with feelings and what you would have done.
We were out at the weekend with our son and two women walked past. One of the women said
“That boy isn’t normal”
Then the other woman said
“Yeah it’s that Down syndrome,definitely not normal”.
Before I knew it, I shouted over, walked up to the two women and said
“Excuse me but that’s my son your are taking about”
One of the ladies apologised however the other woman said
“Well he isn’t normal”
Feeling very frustrated and sad for the 2 women I walked away tears rolling down my face. What had my son done to them? He’s cute beautiful and our world.
I am 27 weeks pregnant with my second child and maybe hormones are taking over my life at the moment as I cry quite often, but it hurt so much. Yes my child is different but so is every child and afterall what is normal? My husband said, these people are not in our lives and we shouldn’t let them get to us but that’s easier said than done, as all I want is to protect my son from ignorant people like them. They clearly don’t understand Down Syndrome at all. Thanks for listening x”
One thing I do know, is that I love that she had the guts to say something to these woman. I love that it wasn’t about being confrontational or aggressive. Yes she was sticking up for her son but she was also in saying something, trying to educate them. I realise we’re never going to change everyone’s minds, we’re never going to convince everyone that just because someone’s different, it doesn’t make them less of a person but even if one of the women didn’t back down in her opinion, perhaps she went home and actually thought about what this mother had said. Perhaps she has never experienced different? I’m almost certain she’s never had the pleasure of knowing someone with DS… but I absolutely commend this mummy for speaking out and fully support anyone who has the want and will to try.

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