“So, What is Your Child’s Special Talent?”

How many times have you parents heard that question?  The assumption is that if your child is special-needs, they must have some particular power in one area.  Might they be able to out-do most air-traffic controllers?  (I know of one who can!)

Well MY child can figure out a DVD or VCR player faster than a speeding bullet!  (Oh, that doesn’t count?)

My usual answer is, “My child is not completely withdrawn.  He is more social than most special-needs kids.  Thus, he doesn’t focus on just one thing for long periods of time, and doesn’t turn into an expert.”

My son does much of the mental flitting that typical kids do.  He can be a “social eater”…he sees us enjoying certain foods so he wants to try them.  He doesn’t tap into some magical part of his brain and become Top Chef.

He has remorse when he has done something wrong (even though he had  no self-control when he did it – something such as a “meltdown”), so he is connected, from which follows that he cannot be a savant because he pays attention to too many things outside of his favorite interests.

“Oh, look at that beautiful child with Down’s Syndrome.  I just love those children, they’re always so loving.”  Are they?  Or are they just like my kid…typical in more ways than not?

I want to say “Don’t tell me that you understand my child who you do not know!”

It is easier to stereotype a typical teenager than it is to do so with a special-needs person, as far as who they really are.

As soon as we think we’ve gotten through to those who think that our typical-looking child should stop acting like a spoiled brat, they fling into the opposite direction with “understanding”.  “Oh, your child is one of THOSE children.  Now I completely understand…”

Don’t ask me what his special talent is or assume that he will love you and hug you as soon as you meet him.  It is wonderful to care, but let ME do the talking if you really want to understand and connect.

Thank you for listening to me rant!

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