“Please, Spare Kids with Special Needs the Pity”

By April 20, 2015Imagining Inclusion
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I recently came across a pretty old blog post written by Ellen Seidman from Love That Max. It was titled “Please, Spare Kids with Special Needs the Pity” and critiqued an Irish song called “Unlucky One,” written about a child with Cerebral Palsy. I love Ellen’s writing. She shares her perspective unapologetically and never stops advocating for her son. She is truly changing the landscape for children with special needs by sparking conversation about attitudes like this. My thoughts on this topic are as follows:

We need to stop seeing children with disabilities as people we should feel sorry for. Their disabilities are a part of who they are and how they see the world, but they are so much more than that. When we think of them as the “other,” the people we should feel sorry for, we lose the true human connection we could have had with them. As adults, we need to set a good example by respecting each other’s differences instead of thinking others’ differences are pathetic. True inclusion will happen once we see our peers with special needs as complete equals who do not need our pity. My favorite part of Ellen’s piece: “Our kids deserve respect and equal treatment, not pity.”

Please give Ellen’s post a read:

I have an allergic reaction to pity for Max. When people look at him as if he is pathetic (aka The Pity Stare), or cock their head and say “Awwwwww…” if I mention he has cerebral palsy—even as Max is standing there, looking perfectly happy—my face turns a little blotchy, I have to swallow hard, I get a bit prickly.

Read more here.

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