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Tuesday
Mar102009

Dear Internet: I'm Placing You on Notice

With Jumby's arrival I am once again the parent to a disabled child. In the three years since I've been required to tube feed or face a plethora of medical professionals, there has been one aspect of raising a disabled child I hadn't missed at all.

The stigma that is attached to a disability, to me as a parent of a handicapped child and to my child for being different.

I had forgotten how every time I venture out in public with my child we become the traveling circus, the free freak show for people to pointedly ignore or worse yet cast upon us their stares filled with pity and sorrow.

I didn't have a choice when Bug was born. Whether I liked it or not, I was initiated into this odd club of parents, where all the members had different stories but one common link. They all had children who the world looked upon as different. They all had to face the looks of sorrow or pity whenever they told the world at large why their child wasn't "normal."

I didn't want to be the parent to a different kid, dammit. I wanted to be the mother of the blonde haired, blue eyed baby boy I saw beneath the mask of his disabilities. I couldn't understand why the world never saw him the way I did: As a remarkable little human being who was just like the rest of us underneath his broken body and mucked up DNA sequences.

Then I learned the secret most people never have the opportunity to discover. The sheer joy involved in having a disabled child in your life.

This time around the parental merry-go-round, I had a choice. I actively chose to bring home a disabled child of my own. I made a choice to deal with every aspect of parenting a special needs child. I signed myself up for the freak show that follows us wherever we go.

I don't regret it for one second. Our family, our lives are infinitely better with Jumby in it.

But there is a difference with Jumby that is palpably noticeable. A shift in perception that wasn't visible to our family when we were blessed with Bug's life. My children were three years younger and a world less mature while Bug breathed. There were things about living with a disabled brother they never noticed because they were too young to remember life without him before he was born.

But death and puberty and time has swirled around them like the perfect storm and given them a clarity of life they once lacked. They see the difference between their bodies and Jumby's tight twisted little body. They see how difficult it is for Jumby to get through the day as they run and jump and play and take their own healthy bodies for granted.

Even more so, they are keenly aware of people's reactions to Jumby and to us when we take him out in public. It goes beyond the brown hair and his doey brown eyes. Beyond his cleft chin and the different noses on their faces. They are bonded with Jumby, united by the love the three of them share for one another and they don't understand why people can't see past his wheel chair or the way he holds his head to the side to see better, to see the spirit of the boy they so clearly see.

They have witnessed the social disparity between them and it's left them cold.

It is a lesson I knew they'd learn but one I wish I could shield them from.

I can't shield my children from this. Unless I choose to live in a bubble but let's face it, it's no fun to flash my boobs if no one is watching.

But I can stand up and tell the world to grow up.

To open their eyes and see past their own feelings and issues and take responsibility for their actions and the words they so carelessly toss around.

I can teach my children and the children around me that it is not cool to use the word 'retard' to make fun of someone or hammer a point home.

I can teach my children and the children around me that it is okay to touch a disabled person, they aren't contagious or filled with cooties. (Unless they are homeless and living under a bridge and even then they just need a good de-lousing.)

But can I teach the world around me? The adults?

I don't know, but I do know that when I'm on twitter I don't need to innocently click a link and have this image staring back at me:



Surely there is a better way to prove the point you are trying to make than to disparage a community of already challenged people. And don't tell me you can because you have disabled children yourself. That doesn't give you a free pass to be ignorant.

How are you protecting and advocating for your family if you are perpetuating this stereotype?

This isn't cool people. This is so beyond cool my head hurts.

Nor do I need to open up my email and find this in my inbox:



Seriously. Have you met me? Do you know I gave birth to that child you just made fun of? That I just adopted another who would easily become a caricature in someone else's life if I gave them the opportunity?

I don't need to read a joke about how it's National Retarded Day and guess what? I'm it.

Seriously.

That is my family you are making fun of. It's my sons, my niece, my father-in-law and my friend's children.

And with a small twist of fate, it could be yours, the same way it became mine.

I can't change the world or most people in it. The best I can do is set an example for my children and for those around me and educate them to the value a disabled child or adult can bring to a community and to society in general.

You may not agree with me and that's cool.

It takes all kinds of people to make this world the wonderfully interesting place it is. But if you are going to disparage a community of people who had the misfortune to have more health or mental problems than you can shake a stick at, you had better be prepared for me to bite back hard.

I owe it to Bug, to Jumby, to that man who shuffles his gait down the street because his feet are badly clubbed.

But mostly, I owe it to myself. There is a difference, a line, between what is funny and what is pathetic and rude. I see the difference every time I look in my son's eyes and see his smile illuminate brighter than a 100 watt bulb.

What I'm having a hard time with is trying to explain to my children why everyone else can't see it as well.

Don't make this harder for us, for me, for Jumby.

Or next time I won't play so nice.
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Reader Comments (265)

The people who make things like that and say rude comments are uncomfortable and they were never taught how to express themselves properly in that situation. Instead of being polite and intelligent something in their head goes wrong and they feel that in order to remove the uncomfortable feelings of "that could have been MY child!" syndrome they try to make funny.

It usually ends up getting someone's feelings hurt and then they are confused as to why that hurt their feelings as they were just trying to 'make things cheerful' when they simply don't realize there wasn't anything wrong in the first place.

I suppose we all have moments of "I can't believe I just said that" but a lot of it stems from people who just don't care enough to think before they speak.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChelle

Thank you. For the lesson, the reminder, the awareness. What a wonderful example you are setting for your children and the cursed yet blessed internet!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNeesja

Tanis, unfortunately, many human beings are infinitely stupid. They look at people and judge them because of how they look or what the perceive them to be. It is just. plain. wrong. You have people out there who are morons. How they have survived themselves in the world is beyond me. They, themselves, are to be pitied.

I can't wait for you to be able to post some pics of Jumby. I can't wait to see that smile you talk about!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterellieranc

Until the adoption is finalized in July-ish, I have to be really careful about posting his picture. The adoption people are a tad sensitive about that and protecting him from his past.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRedneck Mommy

I'm with ya, lady!!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristi

Well said. You have my admiration for the path you have chosen in life.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKitch

Here here and well said. Ok ... I need a tissue now, cause I am all teared up. Jumby is one heck of a lucky kid to be surrounded by so much love.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie in Toronto

OUCH! Most of the time people don't mean to be so rude, so ignorant. But they are. And that stinks.

I'm sorry this happened.

Rebecca

I'm ashamed to have caught myself using that word in the past, and I try very, very hard never to use it for all of the reasons you so eloquently expressed here. I can't believe anyone would be so thoughtlessly rude and send that stuff to you.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAssertagirl

The world is filled with cruelty towards those different from ourselves. Some revel in the cruelty, most shake their head in disbelief, and the noble few champion against it. You are a noble woman, if only everyone would follow your lead.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWill

I think it's a great thing for your children to learn. Although it will be hard for them, it will make them much smarter and compassionate adults. My husband and I were very close to adopting a child with Down's syndrome. To get to that point we had to explore many of our feelings and thoughts about how society would portray the child and us. One thing I realized was that my husband always felt "sorry" for disabled people and their families. I tried to explain to him that some (especially people with Down's syndrome) are some of the happiest people around. And that they wouldn't want anyone to feel bad for them, they are totally happy with their lives. It really made him stop and think about it. I think too many people see a disablility as a bad thing instead of just a "different" thing. It's not necessarily bad to have a disability. Eventually, we decided not to adopt bc we already had 4 children of our own and we just didn't think we could give a special needs child the time they deserved. So, I hold a special place in my heart for people like you that have the means to do it.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori

I stand with you on this one. It's ridiculous the way some people's ignorance is flaunted about like a new pair of shoes from Nordstrom. I'm the cool kid. I can make desparaging jokes. Har har.

I never allow my children or anyone in my presence to say such things without a severe response on my part. I hope more people take that stand.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTSM_Oregon

I wish people would grow up-I am so sorry that you and your family (along with all the families out there have) to deal with these insensitive jerks. Many hugs to you and to Jumby.

(((hugs)))

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDomestic Extraordinaire

You are a good and decent woman for not sharing the name of the jackass who posted that link on Twitter. Those ridiculous captions actually made me sick to my stomach. People who think those things are funny are everything I detest in humanity.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMomo Fali

I am with you on this one Tanis! As the mother of a disabled child I am in awe of what you are doing, and I'm sorry for both of us that there are so many ignorant people out there. It hurts my heart.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Marie

On a very small scale, I know what you are talking about, my daughter was born with a hemangioma (well technically it wasn't visable at birth but 9 days later there it was)..... its on her forehead, low (just above her eyebrow) and especially in the earliest days was very red (think strawberry birthmark-another name for hemangioma).....I was very blessed that Allie's hemangioma stayed very small (dime sized) and only raised slightly....if you ever check out the hemangioma org's website, you can see how huge these birthmarks can get. That said, when we are out, I hear the whispers of other little kids asking their parents what happened to Allie's head, I hear their parents telling them WRONGLY that its an owie (and maybe they really DONT KNOW that its not), I have been stopped by 3 elderly women in separate areas of walmart (ON THE SAME DAY) because these women genuinely believed that I had caused harm to my baby. These things don't really bother me, these are the things I can comment on, I can educate about.... its those looks you get, the ones where you see pity, the ones where you just know they are thinking "thank God that's not on my baby"....that are upsetting to me. I don't need your pity and my duaghter sure the hell does not...... hemangioma or not, she is GORGEOUS. My son who will be 4 soon, picks up on it more than I would like, he has been known to speak up on his sisters behalf and give them the "down low"...... and in many ways I am grateful that even on this small level, he has had this experience. Hemangiomas are really nothing, many of them involute on their own a few years down the road, and if they dont, plastic surgeons can work their magic..... but I hope the lesson its teaching my son (and ultimately my daughter when she gets older) about differences, WILL be something.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

I love blogs posts that make me feel something, and blog posts that make me think. This is one of the lovely ones that did both.

Your love for your family, and the beauty of Jumby and Bug, just make my heart swell. Tearing up, seriously.

And like assertagirl, I have used the word "retarded" before (I have also said "that's gay" which I find equally repugnant). I was younger and foolish and I learned my lesson. Now I have to teach my children not to say those things.

What got me thinking today was your observation that people look at you and Jumby with pity and sorrow. I have been that stranger before, and as I grew up I realized how WRONG that is. I wouldn't want someone looking at me like I have a burden because I am white with Black sons, or a single mom (I'm not, just an example), or whatever. I try to always smile at everyone I see, no matter what color, nationality (even Canadians. Shudder), or if they walk like me or not. Thank you so much for sharing this and making me think about the kind of children I want to raise. Hopefully they will learn things at a young age that I had to figure out as an adult.

I've said it before, but as someone who found your blog during dragonlady times I am just so happy for you and your family that Jumby has come to stay.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLucie

Have you seen this site?
http://stopsayingretard.wordpress.com/

It's a campaign to stop using the word.

Lovely post. The pictures made me cry. How can anyone look at that first boy, crossing the finish line, and think anything other than what a marvelous human being he is.

Words like retard and expressions like "that's so gay" really make me angry. To disparage an entire community of people is severely limited thinking.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Nixon

Who on earth would say such things?!?! I mean, that goes beyond even the mildly understandable idiocy of using the word 'retarded', which most of us grew up with and is at least explainable, if not excusable, but photos and captions like that have never, ever been thought acceptable by anyone but the lowest of the lowbrow. Whatever, idiots. I hope the mother of that boy doing the hurdles finds this fool and sues him right out of the country for using his image without permission.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterastarte

What an awesome post! You are RIGHT on!

There are some insanely ignorant people out there. My child is on the autism spectrum ... I have been shocked at some of the things that come of the mouths of professionals working with special needs kids, let alone people who know nothing of the struggles a special needs' child goes through.

Thankfully, we are living at a time where people are becoming more accepting and appreciative of special needs/disabled children so why does the internet really seem to bring out the idiots??

It's a shame b/c having a special needs kid is a complete gift. My life is so much better b/c of my son. It's been incredibly hard to get him to this point but the love I have for that kid ... it could power the world for 50 years. I am a more loving and accepting person b/c of my son. I work harder to make sure he is receiving the right treatments, therapies ... not a day goes by that I'm not fighting for my son. And really ... that experience makes me into a better "me".

Stay strong. You rock!!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChrissy

My younger sister is on the Autism Spectrum. She has no visible disability, but life is no piece of cake for her. My mother, the ignorant piece of scrotum cheese that she is would always say, "If only she looked like a retard, then I wouldn't have to answer the questions for why she is a retard." Clever woman, my mother - NOT.

Also, with my sister, she will say things that polite society cannot tolerate. We were shopping and there was a boy in a wheel chair with cerebral palsy. My mother had heart palpitations when my sister boldly goes up to the mother and says,
"Why is your little boy in a wheelchair?"
The mother says, "Because his brain doesn't send messages to his body properly."
My sister was most satisfied with that response, but my mother was full of fumbling apologies to the mother of the boy.

The boy's mother said, "I wish everyone would just ask and then accept. We can all learn a lot from our children"

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnja

You just made me cry at my desk. I can't believe there are people that are that stupid or ignorant, who never think "there but for the grace of god..."

I think what you are doing is amazing and you have every right to kick some ignorant ass!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Growing up w/ an autistic foster brother & having all sorts of special needs kids come through our home..this is dear to me.

Very few understand the love & light behind the eyes of these kids. It takes a special eye & heart to see it.

Bravo for standing up for what's right. Love it.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermandy

Very well said. I agree 100%.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

well said. i'm behind you 100%

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterashley

We all do things in life that we later regret. When I was younger, we're talking early primary school age here, I used to make jokes about retarded people all the time.

Then I met Caroline my first year of middle school, my next door who was afflicted with cerebral palsy. She had a lisp. She had a limp in her leg. She could not fully extend her arm and hand. She also had a gloriously twisted sense of humour, loved to read, and was as fascinated by rock music as I was. Great times.

She became my friend and remains so to this day. So whenever I go back to my hometown and get to head to lunch with her, I think back to how I used to think. I cringe.

I have said it before but Jumby has found himself a wonderful home.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKendall

Tanis, you are a class act. I love your big heart, your enthusiasm, your way with words

You are a light worker thru and thru.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPAPA

Well said.

I am having my 12 year old read this. Hearing it from your point of view may make him rethink some careless jokes and terms that him and his friends think are funny - thank you.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMrsMessiness

The internet is making me tired today. Very tired. People can't seem to just accept that people are different. That their perfect lives are not how everyone needs to be. I feel for your kids for having to try and understand other peoples prejudices at such young ages.

Then again, I think it makes us, people who see differences in people as okay and normal, better off.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIssa

Thank you *warm smile*

Having a "normal" looking kid, with neurological difference that aren't seen until he begins interacting with people, I know this feeling - these looks - all too well. You've said it perfectly!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDana

I think that meanness is the problem but political correctness has been taken to an extreme that is unhealthy. I'd like to retain my right to call my kid 'the R word' when he acts stupid (because I'm sort of rednecky, too) but I also understand your frustration with the way people treat one another. Especially the 'special' ones. It's hard to know how to interact with disability when we've never experienced it. It's hard to know how to handle drunks/drug addicts/idiots/rudeness/etc until we have a framework for it. Sooooo, my suggestion is that you give a big Fuck Off to those who are rude but those pitying looks? Maybe they are actually concern or commiseration or love being sent your way, just not in a language you understand.
As to me, I admire the hell out of you for being willing to put in all the work and the love to raise a kid who is needier than most, for living through the death of a child and for being able to still be funny...but I'm still going to call my son names sometimes. =)

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTina.essert@gmail.com

Well said.

You're getting a standing ovation over here, in my little corner of the internet world, even if you can't hear it or see it.

Believe for every 1 ignoramus, there are dozens of loving, kind people that are there to support you.

Believe it.

Namasté.
Mitzi

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMitzi (MyFengShuiLife)

I don't know what to write but still feel compelled to write *something*.

It has been one of those bloggy days, in which people seem hopelessly cruel. But then I am reminded, through words written by you (and HBM), that there are women, courageous women, who will always fight the good fight.

I'm sorry; and thank you.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBobita

Jumby is one lucky little guy. And you are a formidable advocate for people with disabilities.

Thank you for reminding me that words, regardless of their benign intent, have the capacity to hurt. That word is a word left over from childhood that I still sometimes use (almost always to describe myself) that I need to eradicate from my vocabulary.

See old dog - learning new trick. Thanks again.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Sorry - my site was linked wrong...
(retweeting) :)

Well said.

You’re getting a standing ovation over here, in my little corner of the internet world, even if you can’t hear it or see it.

Believe for every 1 ignoramus, there are dozens of loving, kind people that are there to support you.

Believe it.

Namasté.
Mitzi

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMitzi (MyFengShuiLife)

Thank you for posting that. We all need to be more sensitive, but pictures like that are over the top ridiculous.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertutugirl1345

I freaking love you. I work with kids with autism and people are like "blah blah you're a good person" and i'm like "dude have you met these kids? They're awesome." like seriously. I am truely convinced no one will ever love me as much as these kids do. I babysat for one of my little boys with autism and epilepsy. He was so excited to see me he puked up his dinner. THAT'S love. no one else pukes out of excitement when they see me.

Ahhh I miss them so much, I can't wait to go bac this summer and see how much they've grown. Also, I like this quote from John C. McGinley from Scrubs. Its about the r word

"it defies rational thought as to why you would pick on that group (he's talking about individuals with down syndrome here). When you pick on that group youve picked the perfect storm of cowardice to exercise your vitriole because they're not going to return serve "

Oh and I say something when someone uses the r word. I'm 20 and a college student and at first I was scared to speak up. Now it's basically a reflex, and people actually apologize, and refrain from using it.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMolly

I've been trying to be as honest in my comments as I can lately. I've come to believe there's more value in presenting myself honestly rather than how I WANT to be perceived.

So I am going to admit it. During my adolescence, teen years, even my twenties I was as guilty as the next guy of the deplorable behavior you're describing. Maybe not to the degree that you speak of here, but somewhat nonetheless. Your post makes me more ashamed than you can imagine.

Now that I have a child, who was also a preemie, I realize how fortunate ANY parent of ANY child is, as long as they are alive and together. I didn't know what it meant to put your own life aside for another, and am appalled that there was ever a time when I would even have considered poking fun at someone who was "different" than myself. It was arrogant, selfish and foolish , and I will promise you this: I will do everything within my power to make sure my own daughter is caring, loving and selfless towards others, regardless of physical or mental attributes.

My hat's off to you.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

God people are so stupid sometimes it makes my head spin. I'm sorry.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpam

Amen! As a school Occupational Therapist for many years, I wish more people would encourage their children to interact with their challenged peers instead of, 'Don't Stare.' I don't know how many times I have had to tell a teacher that it is OK for her to answer the questions a physically different student's classmates may have. OR how often the teacher just doesn't know how to answer some of the simplest questions.
I applaud your stand here. Know that I will am and have been in the trenches fighting this fight with you.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTammie

I so agree with you, and sometimes some of the people who are the worst offenders are parents of people with disabilities and that's astonishing to me. I used to work in a children's shoe store when I was a teenager, and I was able to fit orthopedic shoes so I had a lot of customers with disabilities. One woman was the assistant to a child with mental retardation and he asked to go to the bathroom so I took him and the assistant to the bathroom. The boy was so cute and just chattering along and I chatted back as best I could (I couldn't understand everything he said) and just treated him like I do everyone else and his assistant looked at me and said "He's not normal, you know." I was shocked. I think I said something like "But we're having a great conversation anyway" which isn't the best but was the best I could do as a 17 year old. I'd probably get myself fired nowadays.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFishyGirl

I couldn't have said it better myself, or as politely for that matter.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkatie ~ motherbumper

Some of the most fantastic, interesting, captivating people I've ever known have been individuals with disabilities when I had the pleasure of working with them. To randomly go about our lives and choose not to get to know them and the families and friends who love them is a shame. So - what you and so many up there ahead of me said, multiplied by 1,000.

Thank you Tanis, for saying so beautifully what I've tried to convey to kids and even the adults that I work with for years.

As I read, I began to cry-my own experience is different from yours in that my son's disability is fairly mild compared to Jumby's and Bug's. The hurt though, is still very real. When someone calls him a retard simply because he can't physically write something, sometimes it's all I can do not to leash the Momma Bear attack on them. Fortunately Jake is at an age where he defends himself.

But then I think of kids that I work with who can't speak for themselves, and I get angry all the same. I took a strip off some kids at work last week for this, and they haven't said it since.

*sigh* I admire you. Not just for adopting Jumby, but for standing up and being his Momma Bear. Ps...thought you'd might like this site and you can get a button for your blog..http://www.r-word.org/

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScatteredmom

So sorry you got them awful pictures.
I mind a child with Downs and my own children have witnessed other peoples reactions to him and have been upset. They usually defend him fiercely. I love a good joke but there is a line that must not be crossed, clearly these photos cross the line.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ from Ireland

I'm at work right now, trying not to cry. I've been following your blog for a while now, as an anonymous lurker allowing your humor and courage brighten my day.

But I feel the need to comment today because this topic is so near and dear to my heart. My niece has Downs Syndrome. I can't put into words just how wonderful, beautiful and amazing she is. I can't adequately express how much love and humility and happiness and character she has brought into my life. I am literally honored to know her & she makes me a better person.

It brings me to the edge of despair and fills me with rage when these pure, flawless, guileless, GIFTS are mocked and belittled.

I will never understand why the "normal" people of the world feel justified in denigrating the most special people on this planet.

They are gifts to us... sent here to remind us of how we SHOULD be... to allow us the opportunity to strive to be better and to be worthy of them.

I'm with you, Tanis. That "arguing on the internet" picture has made my skin crawl for years. The person who created it and those who find it funny don't have a place in decent society. So why do we accept them? Why do we "play nice" and chalk it up to a "difference of opinion"? We shouldn't.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

Well Said, Tanis. Thank you for sharing your world with us and helping us become better, more enlightened people. You constantly amaze me!

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy M

My heart goes out to you. In all my life I have never understood why people have chosen to pick on or mock those who are different. I have cried many tears, both as a child and an adult for others who were born differently.

I admire your strength and courage and am so happy you are out in the world to stand up and shout for those who can't. Jumby is just so fortunate to have you for a Mom.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBeachMama

You go girl!!! I think people are just ignorant - in that they have never had the chance to KNOW someone and LOVE someone a little different... their world is lacking, and it shows. Lucky us to have the opportunity to share a world enriched by people who bring with them all sorts of abilities, and allow us such a smorgasboard of experiences.

Poor them. Lucky us.
:-)
BB

Hi Tanis, I admire and respect you so much, and I agree with all the other compliments in this comments thread.

I do have a question, though. I would never use the "r" word or, I hope, intentionally be mean to anyone. But there's another side to what you're talking about -- you don't just want people to stop with the tasteless "jokes," you also don't want "looks of sorrow or pity."

I'm just an ordinary person without much experience with disabled people. If I were to meet you and your family in the grocery store, what sort of response would be most appreciated? Would you want me to act completely normal and ignore that there's anything different about Jumby? That doesn't seem right, because it's part of who he is. What about a positive response, like "Your lives must be so interesting!" or "You have three lovely children"? I am sure that I inadvertently hurt people's feelings just by being too worried that I'm going to say the wrong thing, making me come across as awkward and uncomfortable.

March 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBadPxy

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