We want our children to have control over their thoughts and emotions as much as possible. We teach them to better identify how they’re feeling and what they need. We want them to have the confidence to try. If they fail, we encourage them to try again. We hope they advocate for themselves in whatever way they can if they need help or are in trouble, and we show them they are valued, they are loved, and that they have agency.
But we need help. We need the support of our community, including the experts we trust. We need you to address our children directly
When we go to doctor’s appointments, meetings at the school, or even the grocery store, please don’t ask me how my son is doing. Please ask my son. Ask him if he’s getting enough outside time (please ask him, really!), ask him how school is going, and most importantly, if you’re curious about the brace on his leg, ask him! Imagine how you’d feel if someone noticed a brace on your leg and then looked past you to ask the person beside you about it. You’d probably feel invisible. You might feel that little is expected of you and that you are not valued as a person. You might speak up the first time, but if it happens over and over again, you’d be less likely to advocate for yourself. You’d likely disengage from the conversation. You got the message that you’re not seen.
This is not the message we want our children to receive. It’s not the message we want anyone to receive.
As so eloquently written and shared on Facebook by @adiaryofamom:
Whether people are verbal, non verbal, or any of the infinite iterations of the human condition in between, they deserve to be seen, acknowledged, and respected as human beings.