Tuesday, December 06, 2011

You Know What Word I’m Not Comfortable With? Nuance. It’s Not a Real Word. Like Gesture. Gesture’s a Real Word. With Gesture You Know Where You Stand. But Nuance? I Don’t Know.: A post on Support for Special Needs yesterday by Robert Rummel-Hudson touched on something that I think most parents who've been on the special-needs beat for a long time start to feel -- that despite the explosion in support opportunities the Internet and e-mail have brought, it's still not that easy to find a community that fits. You feel a responsibility to be a professional sharer of your experience for the newbies, but after a while you realize that there's much more nuance to your story than you can ever responsibly explain to someone just starting out. And your fellow veterans seem to have hardened into those nuances to a degree where it's almost impossible to honestly share your experience without being accused of invalidating somebody else's.

I received huge assistance after adopting my kids from an e-mail list for parents who'd adopted from Eastern Europe, but when I was in a position to give advice back, I found a minefield of people who felt any discussion of special needs was bad for adoption and therefore evil, and people who felt anything other than a scorched-earth approach to problems like RAD and FASD made you a raiser of sociopaths, and people who seemed to scan posts for any phrase they could use as an accelerant for their own particular flame wars. Like many parents with a point of view, I fled to my own little website world where I could set the rules of discourse, blogging and writing and eventually becoming About.com's special-needs-parenting guide, and I hope I've been useful to others in that effort. Yet I do feel at times like I've become a "brand" in a way that makes me a worse parent in my real life, where being able to turn any experience into 500 words is not that useful a skill.

1 comment:

Adelaide Dupont said...

Hello Terri!

When lots of people use "nuance", I use "subtlety".

And, yes, hardening into nuance.