It shouldn't be a big shocker to know that our children still have an upward battle to again acceptance in today's society. It saddens me quite a lot when I still see how social attitudes in regards to the special needs community are still being projected. Especially towards adults who are special needs. I know that one day, my children will be adults and will be out in this world just trying to exist the best way they know how. It doesn't matter if they have the life skills to take care of themselves, they will eventually become adults, whether I like it or society likes it.
In the past couple of days, it has been quite evident to me that we are still not there yet. The language being spoken in regards to the disabled still needs some work. Even with campaigns like Spread the Word to end the Word, words like "Retard" are still being used, whether it be in an insult or outdated terminology. For me, these past couple of days its the way in which I have seen society act or converse with those who are special needs. Just because there might be some sort of sign that someone might be cognitively, mentally or physically impaired doesn't mean that we as a society should treat them any less than you would anyone else. It comes down to respect. Yes it is evident that someone is impaired for whatever reason, but to talk to them as if they don't understand is disrespectful. Now I get that with some mental illnesses and cognitive disorders, a person might not understand, but if the person is coherent enough to acknowledge your presence as well as carry on a conversation, than treat them as you would an unimpaired person. Even so, if they are not, still don't treat them with disrespect. They are after all, still a human being, one who doesn't deserve judgement or ignorance on your part.
As I sit down to write this, I must think of the respect of the caregivers. Us, the loved ones. The people who thanklessly, provide love and support for those who need it. Now we do it because we love someone who requires a little bit of extra love and support. Most of us are relatives, parents or friends. Some of us are ones that are trained in a field to help those special persons. So when we hear disconcerning conversations or remarks about the special needs community or a person with a disability, it only makes us want to work that much harder to bring education to those who aren't immersed in our world. I am not saying that you need to start volunteering at a school that has special needs students, but gain some perspective, that for many of us this is our lifestyle. It doesn't stop at the end of the day, nor does it for the person we take care of either. So when you think its cute how I say special needs instead of mentally retarded or referring to a person who has a mental illness as some "Crazed Adult", it just proves to me and others that we are just not there yet.
There is always going to be ignorance and fear of the unknown. I don't expect everyone to understand my station in life or my children's, just as I am not expected to understand why and how some else lives their life. Yes you better believe that when I hear someone misspeak about something they have no clue about, I am going to correct them, and if that embarrasses them, not my problem. I am always willing to educate those who ask, but I do ask for respect. Respect that I am taking time to educate you on something. Respect that, that is part of my life and most days, my way of life.
Right now, we as a special needs community, we are not there yet in our battle for Acceptance. It will be there when news outlets will stop blaming our community for the reasoning behind murders and other crimes. It will be there when we are not judged on our parenting and caregiver skills. It will be there when people will stop and think about the words coming out of their mouths. It will be there when there is decent funding for our children to succeed. It will be there when special needs is seen as Human and just that, but we are still not there yet.
Hopefully in time we will be.