Proudly Supporting all Military Families with a Special Needs Dependent
It’s my second. The first one was in second grade. But that’s another story…
I’ve come to the realization that I cannot change people. The folks who do not understand that special needs encompasses more than their own choices to follow a schedule, or that because they choose to avoid busy places; family members who don’t believe in ADD/ADHD; those who share their theory that spanking our children more will “fix” the autism: I cannot change them. I cannot educate them – especially if they don’t want to learn.
Medical professionals who will not look my special needs son in the eye, or who actually say the “R-word,” therapists who put my son in a one-size-fits-all autism box: I cannot change these people. They are educated. Yet still ignorant. I can’t fix that.
Teachers who refuse to fulfill their end of the IEP, or who do the bare minimum – those who believe in pressing the “easy button” when teaching my children; school administrators who know nothing about the actualities of living with autism; school boards who protect abusive teachers and staff: these people are “in the business” of educating our children. They believe they know it all. I cannot change their points of view.
So what can I do?
I can change me. I can change how I respond to these people and the situations. Since I know there is nothing I can do to change long standing prejudices, stereotypes, and ignorance, I am not going to continue to try. I’ve banged my head against the wall of idiots for far too long. The wall doesn’t move, and all that happens is I wake up with a pounding headache.
No, instead, I resolve to change my attitude, my response. I can stop taking things so personally. I can try to let perceived slights go, and stop holding grudges. I can work on me – take the speck out of my own eye, or, as my family says, make sure my “poop is all in one sock” before I worry about others.
This isn’t a resolution. Resolutions never last. This is a lifestyle change as difficult as a new exercise plan or diet. And although those two things will be on my resolution list, changing my outlook as important for my mental health as those things are for my physical well being. I owe it to myself to make this change; to be the change I want to see in others.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll be a trendsetter.
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