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Friday, July 6, 2012

Heartbroken...

Hi everyone!

Today was a tough day. My grandmother was supposed to come visit... it was on our calendar and the little man was all excited. Yesterday she fell and broke her hip and needed to be hospitalized, meaning she will not be coming to visit after all. I had to tell him last night and he was SO upset when he saw me erasing "Abuelita" (meaning "Grammy" in Spanish) from his calendar. He was most upset that she had a "boo boo on the leg" (his words). I told him that the doctors were going to help her get all better and that she would get a BIG band-aid. Last night he couldn't sleep because he was crying and asking questions about Abuelita's "boo boo." "Is her boo boo on the leg very red, Mommy?" He was asking if her injury was bleeding? Who says kids with ASD lack total empathy???

I think I was more upset about this event that I realized, or maybe I was caught unprepared when I was slapped in the face with seeing my little man outright socially rejected by some kids. This was not the first. The most egregious happened about a week ago, but a series of events today led me to write the following posts/comments in various social network websites. I am heartbroken for my son... I know it's only the beginning of a life-long battle of social injustice based on his "differences." I guess I expect this type of rejection from just anyone off the street, but it certainly hurts beyond measure when it's from members of OUR OWN CHURCH!! I'll let my posts do the rest of the talking:

"I am having a BAD day, folks, so don't get me going! No, your child doesn't have to like my child... nor do they have to play with mine... but it sure wouldn't kill you to teach them to be NICE to my son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

You see, I expect rejection from some, but this one hit really hard and deep. I wish these were strangers, but they are not. These are people who have known us for years, even before the little man's diagnosis. That's why I say they don't have to LIKE him, but it wouldn't kill them to be nice. Excluding him on purpose and pushing him away from playing with other kids... NO EXCUSE!!!

I believe that it's human nature to shun anyone who seems different. In nature, it's a basic instinct that every species avoids that which is different. We avoid what is different because it seems foreign to us and, therefore, can cause fear and uncertainty. As humans we are born with the cognitive capacity to over-ride this instinct and as parents it's our responsibility to show our children how to be accepting of people's differences. Babies learn through exposure and observation since they behave by imitation. For example: a child born to a home with a dog would not think twice about approaching another dog because dogs are familiar. However, a child who has never been exposed to a dog will fear them. We've all read about 'the boy raised by wolves'...not scared of wolves but terrified of humans because of the environment in which he was born AND the modeling he observed from his pack.

It takes effort, guidance and constant MODELING for children to "get it." Kids learn from what they see: anything from intolerance, violence, cruelty and even racism...but also kindness, love and acceptance. This makes talking the talk just as important as walking the walk. You can tell them what to do a million times but if you don't walk the walk, everyone will see it through your children. Mark my words! Your little ones only show the world what they really see at home...

Then there's the issue of temperament. It is interesting how in the same family one child can be so mean and awful yet the sibling is the exact opposite. I guess the younger one has learned to be kind and tolerant because the older one is so intolerant and cruel. Still, as a parent your responsibility is to guide and discipline when that temperament affects others. Like I said, we're not asking for your child to LIKE our son, but it certainly is YOUR responsibility to teach them that encouraging others to exclude those who are different is cruel and unacceptable...and that is on YOU!"

I'm nursing a broken heart today, but I'll be OK. The little man is already over it. He is such an amazing soul!!! My son may have ASD but he's one of the kindest-hearted and most forgiving people on this planet! I need to relish in his kindness and love knowing I'm doing all that I can... even if those who "should" be kind and loving are NOT! I WILL BE OK because I am more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ! Just like Abuelita's "boo boo" will be "all better," my heart's "boo boo" will also be "all better." You see, the minute my husband walked in the door from work today, the little man jumped in his arms and said, "Papa, I am SO happy!" 

That's my boy!!!

Blessings!
DC


2 comments:

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  2. Praying for a quick recovery for Abuelita :-)

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