October 4, 2009


We have met many people through, or I should say – because of Alex. Most of these people have been kind and supportive, as I have described in my past entries. But today, I want to vent about some of the frustrations I have had over the years. I do not have any particular reason to vent, except to let you know that life with a child with special needs is not always a bed of roses.

I really do not have much of a temper, and I try to practice the "wait 24 hours" rule before I respond to anything that I perceive to be negative. However, as my kids will tell you (actually anyone that knows me) - I am not perfect - despite my incorrect opinion to the contrary. Sometimes I get so frustrated and angry at people's ignorance and lack of sensitivity that I can not help but respond in the negative. I have learned this is really not a good tactic – but I am really trying!

Following are my top twelve irritating questions/statements:

I will not share my angry responses to these first five questions I received from some of Alex’s past educators - let’s just say they never came up again:
  • Why should I teach her math? - she can use a calculator
  • Why should I teach her to tie her shoes? - there is velcro
  • Why should I teach her to read beyond a third grade level? - she is going to live in assisted living anyway
  • Why does she need more speech? - she can talk
  • Can you come to the dance? - Alex needs supervision
The following I do not find as offensive – just a bit misguided. These are questions that are often asked when we are in a store or in other public places. My response is always “ask her”.
  • How old is she?
  • What is her name?
  • What school does she go to?
  • Does she have any brothers or sisters?
These three statements are meant to be compliments – but I find then to be untrue. So I am sharing my personal responses.
  • Only you and John could raise a child like Alex
Sorry – we know lots of people that are raising children with special needs and they come from all walks of life. John and I are no different than any other parents. We love our children, not matter who they are and work to provide them with the best future we can.
  • God only gives you what you can handle
Huh? What the heck does this even mean? We have a child with down syndrome – that is the only difference between us and other families. I can argue that all kids can cause family angst .

  •   You are a great mother
This is meant as a compliment, and I really do appreciate it, but it may or may not be true – only the future will tell. I know that I am no different than any other mother I know – so I guess that means we are all great mothers. The only difference - I have a daughter with down syndrome.

Yes, sometimes I get so frustrated I have to hold my breath and count to ten. But mostly I remember all the great people we have met and exhale with thankfulness.

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