I guess I have never seen their issues as anything more that a consequence from being born at 24 weeks and I appreciate every milestone that they reach.
With that being said, there are many people in this world that do not understand why a child needs to be in a wheelchair or on oxygen to survive and they paint all children with special need with the same brush.
Last night I was SHOCKED to hear what happened to my girlfriend and her 3 year-old son (pictured right) while out for their first walk in his new wheelchair.
Here is the e-mail she sent me:(not edited)
Okay as you all know we just got Ashton’s trial wheelchair YESTERDAY.
Well I always take him for a walk at night. I usually go the same route so people in certain houses know us and say hi.
I walk past this one house and their son is in the yard with their dog. The mom is out there on the porch. As I walked by I heard the kid say “mom, that kid is retarded”.
WHAT?!?!?!?! ?!? I was just saying how one day I am going to snap. I felt my face go red and I just wanted to scream at him!
I stopped and turned to him and said, “What did you say?”
He said, “I just said he was a retard”.
I said, “He is not a retard. Why do you say that?”
He said, “Cause he is in that chair.”
I said “That doesn’t make him a retard. You are a little brat.”
It was THEN that the mom said to me, “Just keep walking”. She didn’t say ANYTHING before this!!!!!!!! !!!!!
I said “Ya, I will keep walking but you should teach your kid some manners”.
“He has manners” she said….
I just wanted to punch her. I kinda did a little laugh and said “Well if those are manners he has a lot to learn”.
She stood up and seemed to be getting as angry as I was and said to me “He has nothing to learn, you just can’t handle the truth”.
WTF!??!?!?!? ?! I had to start walking. It was gonna be nasty if I didn’t. I started to walk….about ten feet later the tears came. I was sobbing by the time I got home. I cannot believe this. I have seen this lady and her kids MANY nights and it wasn’t until tonight that he said that. I was having a hard enough time with the whole wheelchair thing but now I just feel like crap. Ashton is NOT a retard. I am just so emotional about this whole milestone of getting a wheelchair.. ..it sucks.
Why can’t people see these kids how we do!??!?!
This mother should have marched her little monster down to the sidewalk and made him apologize to Ashton for referring to him as anything but an adorable little boy who has a flashy new chair, but instead she justified his crummy comment by sticking up for him. Now he will always think that it is okay to talk about kids like this because his crappy mother didn’t correct him the first time he did it.
This family knows nothing about what my girlfriend has been through with her son and the lengths that she has gone through to make sure that he is here with us today.
The part that saddens me the most about this story is that this is the mom that slept in a ‘toy room’ at the hospital for 4 MONTHS because she couldn’t bare to leave her sons side while he was recently hospitalized.
She has pushed for every specialist and every doctor to see her son because she desperately wants him to lead a normal life and hopefully walk on his own someday.
After what she goes through daily, she doesn’t deserve to have her son ridiculed when all she wants to do is get him out for some fresh air.
When I see someone with a child who has special needs, I have nothing but respect for them because I know that they are probably on-call 16-18 hours a day looking after their child’s basic needs.
Whether we like it or not, this is how some kids are treated when they are in a wheelchair. I hope that this story will help parents realize that education and awareness goes a long way.