Thursday, June 5, 2014

How does wording define someone? One mom's viewpoint

 "...And every piece of you is beauty." 

A recent blog post caught my attention. It brings an interesting view to the on-going discussion of how one should refer to children (or adults) with special needs. For example, what should be the 'politically correct' way of stating that a child has autism? Is it "the autistic child," "the child with autism" or "the child who happens to have autism?"

Today, all three are used in daily conversation and in current literature as well as research. How does the wording affect or impact the child and the family? Personally, I think it can have a great impact on how the child is seen through the eyes of others. Most recently, I have been encouraged to say that the child comes first and then the disability should be identified. For example, "the child with the LD," not the "LD child."

However, one parent has taken a different approach.  Mary Evelyn believes the phrase, "happens to have" is a purposeful afterthought.

She states in her post:
We use these words to create distance between our children's inner selves and their outward physical state.  We want to separate the people we love from situations that are less than perfect. We don't want their bodies to define them. 
But the truth is, my son doesn't "happen to have" a disability. 
He just plain has one.
Mary Evelyn has a son with a disability.  He has Spina Bifida.  She knows he is defined by his strengths, his experiences, his disability "and every piece of [him] is beauty."

To read more of Mary Evelyn's thoughts, click here for her blog post.
Food for Thought.

Wendy had a super comment from a colleague, this week. "This little guy is beaming and smiling from ear to ear."  It made her heart melt.  It proves that all you need is a smile!

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