A number of years ago, while my SPD son was in the midst of his therapy and regaining his hearing, I took him to an amusement park wearing a “child leash” attached to his backpack. I was always against child leashes, but I relented for his safety, so he wouldn’t get lost because if he did, he had no skills to help himself be located. A mother looked down at him and whispered a comment to her daughter regarding my son just loud enough for me and my daughter to hear……Here is what I wish I said to her……
“I’d never put your brother on a leash!”
I hear you judge my parental decisions
And attempts to keep my son safe.
How lucky for you
That your child is perfect.
That your child was born
Without anything to cause you concern
Or the need to provide extra security
To keep him safe.
How nice for you
That you will never know
The fear that your child
Will not be able to help himself
Cannot communicate his need
Cannot hear you call his name.
It must be comforting for you
To judge other people
To believe your way
Is the only way.
To offer advice
Because your child has been raised
Does it give you confidence?
To know that I envy you
Not needing to secure your child to keep him safe
Not needing special passes to avoid crowds
Or quiet areas to de-escalate
Or devices and sign language to communicate
Not having to tell ride operators to look for your signal to stop the ride if needed
Not enduring the stares and judgements of others.
Being able to enjoy your perfect child
Without fear or complication?
Have you calmed a sensory meltdown?
Explained your child to a group of children?
Taught yourself sign language?
Applied for handicap access?
Been up all night providing deep pressure to muscle joints?
How good for you
That you have not.
I guess that makes you the perfect person