I was wondering the other day why parents of children with special needs in India tend to have a declining social life. No Mall visits, No visits to the relatives, No friends coming over to the house, sometimes even our parents stop coming over. We all parents love our kids (even if they are labelled special) more than anything and would never want to cut down on developing their social skills which needs such worldly interactions. The obvious answer that popped in my head was that we were a little embarrassed if the kid violated a little bit of the social etiquette, may be unknowingly hurt other kids or himself, got bullied or teased. But sometimes the obvious answer is not the real one. All above answers applied to even normal kids and hence I had to dig a little deeper , to introspect a little more , to discover something a little darker about myself in that answer . Once I had confronted this secret reason, It took me some time to overcome this emotional block but I was liberated with the solution I developed which I then used to create my “relationship fabric” system for parents of children with special needs. The real answer was I was afraid of losing a long raging contest between parents- Who has the smarter kid contest?
Mind you I have been played in this contest as a pawn child and hated the game completely. The game goes something like this. 2 parents meet at any social event and start comparing …Sorry bragging is a better word. Everything counts. Maths and science have highest points if your child scores great. Singing and dancing have some entertainment points. Creative parents prefer drawing and writing skills. Then we keep talking about academic performance, external exams appeared, projects made and so on…till one parent runs out of things done. He takes back his gladiator child home and berates him to become like the performance benchmark he has just witnessed in the other child. This game doesn’t end at childhood but continues throughout the adult life , the only thing changing now are companies being worked for and promotions earned.
I have got nothing against being competitive as I was fiercely one myself but the fact that I had stopped celebrating uniqueness in each child was made evident when I had a child with special needs. I realized that I too wanted to play the same parent game which I hated as a kid and hence when I met a normal kid I could see myself losing even before the game started. And the pity I saw in the other parents eyes made me shun social visits completely. But the funny thing is I was doing more damage than the contest itself
Children with special needs have no knowledge of their unique situation, they don’t even know they are labelled “special”. Guess who makes them aware? Us. We avoid taking them outside, put special rules for them or treat them differently (“bechara” is our creation) making them interact less with other kids and slowly it dawns on them. While the truth is every normal kid has compassion in them. We found it out when we put our angel in school. The Children adored his presence , even finding ways to communicate in a way that he could understand. And we found our child flowering, learning new things through their interaction, communicating more, Living life …normally.
In fact due to his presence normal children and their parents started accepting and learning about such unique children. They needed his presence to learn life is not all hunky dory and fair to all but nevertheless Life can be made beautiful. By avoiding taking our children out we were only making aliens out of them. Other parents didn’t know how to deal with them because in their childhood they had never interacted with special kids and Guess why? Today with the Right to Education , we have a more inclusive society and hope for a better tomorrow.
We haven’t reached there yet. A lot needs to change with teachers, schools(still stuck in last century) and parents, but this is one good effort snowballing into an accepted way of life for parents with children with special needs. Schools still need to build ramps and lifts, shadow teachers need special coaching, Educationists need to come up with ways to design syllabus and evaluate such children. But for now their own gifts are being discovered and celebrated by Gifted teachers who see their individuality. Its true , God gives you far more than what is taken away from you. It’s in our eyes to discover His plans.
Hi , Welcome to Yes! i am Special, India's 1st dedicated blog to help "Parents" of Children with Special Needs. I'm Rohan, an experienced Pharma Professional and father to God's most special Kid - Aaron. He has an undiagnosed muscular condition that till date hasn't allowed him to sit walk or talk. He inspired me to start this blog so that I can help other Parents in need of guidance in their Journey to manage their special children. In this blog I write to help parents improve their relationships that has been impacted while taking care of their child with special needs. I help them rebuild their social circle, overcome their fears and challenges in daily life and in the process bring some encouragement and fun back in their lives. You can read more about me at the Home page - About us SectionRead more about me!