Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers: Parents of kids with special needs often talk about that look, the one that strangers give that makes it clear they know there's something different about your kid. Sometimes that look raises our hackles, when we're feeling all inclusive and hey my kid is just a kid like any kid what are YOU looking at. And sometimes, oh my goodness, we count on that look to buy us a little leeway; maybe we even prod our child to act just a little weirder so we can say, can't you tell this is a kid with a disability? Have a heart, whydon'tcha. The indignation in the first case is righteous, and maybe that makes us hypocrites for playing on differences in the second, I don't know.

But I do know how grateful I was when, at the community college my son will be attending, a passing custodian took in my boy's jumping and flapping and grunting and shirt-chewing and over-involved mother, sized up the situation, and reached out in the kindest way, introducing himself and his partner, getting my son's name, assuring him he would do great at school, and encouraging him to stop and say hi or ask questions whenever they saw each other. Maybe this thoughtful gentleman would have done the same for any random neurotypical, but I doubt it. It seemed clear to me that this was a specific outreach he does to the obviously odd. And I thanked him profusely for it. There are plenty of times we must revile the coldness of strangers. But it's such a relief when they're cool.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

We Are the UMCCDSP. Appease Us!: Just read an article that mentioned "uncommitted middle-class cul-de-sac people" as sort of a midpoint between the Tea Party and the Occupy-ers. I don't know about that, but since I am all of those things, I'm going to adopt "uncommitted middle-class cul-de-sac people" as my personal political affiliation, and look forward to being pandered to by candidates big and small. Come and get us! Just off the top of my head, I think the major issues for UMCCDSP would include:
  • Big trucks that try to turn around in cul de sacs, and somehow make it, but cause us to be very nervous about our cars parked on the street
  • Cars that turn around in cul de sacs, and either drive too fast or drive so slowly they make it hard for us to get out of our own street
  • People who park in front of our driveway when they're picking their kids up at the high school. Really, people? Really?
  • Ditto people who park at the stop sign. Who does that?
  • Drivers on the main road who won't let us turn out of our little cul de sacs. They don't even slow down. Hey, UMCCDSP have places to go too, y'know? And no other way out!
I look forward to hearing these pressing issues debated in campaign ads and speeches. UMCCDSP, unite!