Friday, March 27, 2015

This Is Why I Will Never Stop Advocating

This morning, I saw a video that an Autism mom had posted on Facebook. After I watched it, I had two emotions - sad and mad. This particular mom had listened to a famous comedian on the radio who decided that it would be hilarious to make a special needs person part of his jokes. It's taken me a few hours to settle down enough to write this post. First of all, it is NEVER acceptable to make fun of special needs children or adults. Those children and adults have families and when you crack jokes, it hurts those families.  I felt physically sick this morning after hearing what this comedian had said. Second, there are many, many non-verbal children and adults out there. Back when Dominic had less language, he would sometimes say, "oh, oh," because he was trying to talk. I had someone ask me once in a sarcastic and negative tone of voice, "what does oh, oh, mean?!?!?!?!" After about 15 seconds of composing myself, I calmly looked this gentleman square in the eyes and said, "he has some speech delays." Third, this comedian's jokes were taking place in a church.  For those of us who take our special needs children and adults to a place of worship, we should be welcomed with open arms, not with disdain. I recently became the project director of a special needs ministry where I live. It will be one of my primary "jobs" to change the way we "see" others with disabilities. I want to become a "voice" for the "voiceless." I know that I am lucky, because our church has always embraced us, but there are many other families with special needs children and adults that have not been as fortunate. I plan to advocate not just for our family, but for ALL families out there, regardless of their religion. Fourth, there are still misconceptions of those with disabilities that need to be changed. I had someone who I am extremely close to, just this week ask me, "can Autistic children learn how to read?"  Dominic is in the fifth grade, but probably reads on about the third grade level. He has gone from throwing a book across the room, to asking me every night to read him a story. When I found out my local library didn't have a "storytime" for children with sensory issues or special needs, I wrote several e-mails to the person in charge of the programs, over the course of a few years, just to keep the idea out there. I am happy to say that there is now a "Sensory Storytime" program being offered. It has definitely been a "struggle" to "educate" this particular person on what children with Autism can do.

 Dominic can put together puzzles with over 500 pieces.

He can tie his shoes.

Lastly, it so incredibly disrespectful that some comedians feel its perfectly "acceptable" to make those with disabilities the "punch lines" of their jokes. Up until this morning, I was a fan of this particular comedian. Not anymore.


  1. Your advocacy for your son, and others with disabilities of all kinds, is beyond belief. The good you and your family represent in how much can be accomplished is fantastic and amazing. You are to be admired for your strength and perseverance, and, of course, love. Love, Auntie

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Auntie! Your comment brought tears to my eyes :)


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